BYU assistant Kahil Fennell hired as head coach for UTRGV

After a short but successful stint at BYU as an assistant coach, Kahil Fennell is moving on from BYU to become the next head coach at the University of Texas Rio Grand Valley.

“Kahil is one of the most innovative and creative coaches I have ever interviewed, and I believe his unique approach will lead to tremendous success for our basketball program,” UTRGV President Guy Bailey said.

While at BYU, Fennell was instrumental in coaching BYU’s defense the last two seasons. BYU finished 60th in Kenpom defensive efficiency this season and 52nd in the 2022-23 season. After a season in which BYU finished fifth in the Big 12 after being projected to finish 13th by the coaches in the preseason, it is not surprising to see attrition in the BYU coaching staff. Before BYU, Fennell was an assistant coach and basketball operations director at Louisville from 2018 to 2022 and came to BYU to replace Chris Burgess after he moved to Utah.

BYU coach Mark Pope has lauded Fennell as a “rising star” in the coaching world and a “world-class communicator.” He will need those skills as he attempts to turn around a Vaqueros program that went 6-25 last season and finished last in the WAC.

As for BYU, the rest of the coaching staff is still intact, for now. The Cougars now have up to two assistant coaching positions that can be filled after Fennell’s departure. After a successful first season in the Big 12 and the core of BYU’s success returning, the assistant coaching vacancies should attract a wide range of coaches who — like Fennell — can have success at BYU and continue to ascend in the basketball coaching world.

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