The Los Angeles Lakers appear all-but-guaranteed to part ways with head coach Luke Walton at the end of this season. While it’s unknown which of his assistants — if any — would remain on staff for Walton’s replacement, it seems like he may not be the only member of the coaching staff that might be on the move, as according to Dick Harmon of the Deseret News, Lakers assistant coach Mark Madsen is a candidate for the head coaching opening at Brigham Young University.
“I would love to become a head coach, either in the NBA or in college,” Madsen said in a video from the NBA Coaches Association earlier this year. “I’m working every day to attain that.”
It sounds like Madsen may be closer to reaching his goals than ever, because Harmon reports that Madsen — who is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, widely known as the Mormon Church — has already met with the BYU athletic department about the job:
Sources familiar with the BYU basketball head coaching job search have confirmed that Los Angeles Lakers assistant coach Mark Madsen has interviewed for the vacant position.
Madsen received permission from the Lakers organization to sit down with BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe and senior associate athletic director Brian Santiago, who oversees the basketball program. According to Deseret News sources, the meeting took place in Los Angeles last weekend.
It also sounds like this might be mostly in BYU’s hands, because Madsen reportedly wants the gig, after turning down other offers from teams previously — Harmon reports that the Houston Rockets and Golden State Warriors were interested at various points — in order to stay with the Lakers. He’ll have a strong list of references on his application:
Madsen’s candidacy to become a BYU employee includes an impressive list of famous NBA types who are expected to either write electronic letters of recommendation or lend their names as references to BYU’s administration, a requirement of the job posting that closes April. 9. That list includes O’Neal, Kobe Bryant, McHale and Phil Jackson.
Sources said Madsen is passionate about coaching at BYU and returning to Utah County to be closer to family.
Given that Walton being fired seems like a matter of “when” more so than “if,” and that Madsen would seem unlikely to make it to a fourth head coaching staff after being hired by Mike D’Antoni and then remaining on staff for both Byron Scott and Luke Walton, this move — and Madsen’s interest — makes sense beyond just Madsen’s reported desire to be closer to family.
Madsen is universally well-liked in the Lakers’ organization after mostly working on player-development during his time with the team, and he can frequently be seen working out with and coaching up the team’s younger frontcourt players before games. There will be those in the organization that miss him if he takes this gig, but given everything else going on and all of the personal factors making it a draw for Madsen, it’s probably also the most sensible decision for everyone. We’ll see if BYU hires him.
For more Lakers talk, subscribe to the Silver Screen and Roll podcast feed on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or Google Podcasts. You can follow Harrison on Twitter at @hmfaigen.