Austin Pope replaces Alan Ellis as the new Head Coach of the John Burroughs High School Boys’ Basketball Program
After Burroughs unexpectedly parted ways with Alan Ellis after 7 seasons at the helm as head coach of the Bears, they embarked on an extensive search for his replacement. “It was interesting because we had 33 people that applied for the job,” said athletic director Kieth Knoop, “there was (sic) a lot of people that were interested in the position. We had to figure out how we were able to go through that to get it down to a manageable number to do in-person interviews because you can’t interview 33 people.”
The search team ultimately settled on former Burbank Bulldogs star, and Viewpoint Assistant Coach, Austin Pope. Pope, who is a native of Burbank, played varsity basketball at Burbank High School from 2008-2012, where he was a star player during that span, and then played at the collegiate level at Chaminade University from 2014-2018. He had a brief stint in the NBA G-League before turning his attention to coaching the game he’s loved since he was a kid.
Knoop shared his thoughts on why Austin Pope was the right fit to be the next head coach of the program and the hiring process, “On our first day when we brought people for in-person interviews, Austin was one of the standouts because of his personality and his knowledge of basketball along with his administrative work.” He went on to say that Pope is in the process of building his coaching staff. Scott Koulouvaris who was a holdover on Alan Ellis’ staff will be retained in the new staff brought on by Pope. Erik Willis will be coaching the frosh team under Pope as well.
Austin Pope shared his excitement about being the next head coach of the Burroughs boys basketball program, “I’m excited to get on the court with those guys, I’ve met a lot of the players and I still wear the sense of pride that I went to Burbank High School, and I’m here to give it my all with this program.” He also said that Burroughs has done a great job in the past with their head coaches, as he played against coach Hochberg who was the coach at Burroughs during Austin Pope’s high school days. When asked about why he chose to come back home to Burbank to coach at Burroughs, Pope said it was about him getting back into the Pacific League. Last season Pope worked as an assistant coach at Viewpoint High School in Calabasas under head coach JJ Prince, whom Pope called a future Hall of Famer.
Looking ahead to next winter, Pope added that he expects Burroughs to make a huge splash and that they can have a turnaround season after a losing campaign in 22-23. Pope also said that it will be weird and bittersweet when coaching against Burbank High School. It will feel especially strange entering the Burbank High School gym with Burroughs gear. The 2023-24 team will be headlined by seniors Chase Kardosh, Thomas Mahoney, Francesco Sabato, and Arthur Gabrielyan, followed by juniors, Jagger Topp, Jacob Samontia, and Landon Everheart.
“I’m super excited it’s kind of a full circle moment,” said Kardosh when asked about being coached by Pope, whom his older brother Anthony has had a history with, “I’ve known him my whole life he’s played with my brother back in the day and now to be my coach in my final season is something I’m pumped about.” Chase’s older brother Anthony was a teammate with Pope back in their high school days at Burbank High School.
Austin Pope will attempt to get Burroughs Boys Basketball back to greatness in his first year as a head coach, as the team will begin the rebuild under his leadership.