When Mark Pope started dating his future wife, he wasn’t the only letterman in Lee Ann’s life. She was a personal assistant for Big Apple icon David Letterman.
Mark met his wife, Lee Anne, while he was playing for the New York Knicks. She was living in New York City and giving her time to another, non-Kentucky letterman — David Letterman.
After going to New York City as part of a BYU summer internship program, Lee Anne was hired at ESPN and moved east. A friend and fellow BYU grad, Heather Petersen, was working for the late-night talk show host and arranged a job interview for Lee Anne.
“The first question they asked is if I could drive a stick shift,” Lee Anne says.
She was offered the job and worked full-time for Letterman until she married Mark and moved to Indianapolis while he was playing for the Indiana Pacers.
But the Letterman experience didn’t end when she moved to the Midwest. In fact, Letterman is from Indiana, so Lee Anne stayed on board to run his foundation and coordinate events for Letterman’s mother, who had developed her own level of celebrity through her son’s show.
Lee Anne has fond memories of her time with Letterman, especially during a tough period in her life.
“I lost my dad during that time,” she says. “(Letterman) was really great during that. He would arrange for me to have Fridays off so I could fly home and spend time with my dad.”
Mark and Lee Anne also enjoyed perks of being connected to a New York icon.
“We had the run of the city, and it had nothing to do with me playing for the Knicks,” Mark says. “She was connected to every cool place in New York.”
With Letterman’s retirement earlier this year, Lee Anne feels like she’s lost a landing spot in New York City.
“It was a close-knit group (at the Late Show with David Letterman),” she says. “People don’t leave very often. For a long time, when I would go back, I could stop in and see a lot of familiar faces in one spot. Now, I won’t have that.”
What she has instead is a spot alongside her first-year head coach husband, which she was trained for after growing up as the daughter of the University of Utah basketball coach (Lynn Archibald). She shares her husband with a team full of young men in need of constant instruction and tutoring.
“It’s the only life I know,” she says. “I have to be super independent. I saw that in my mother and other coaches’ wives I’ve known.”
In fact, these women are her role models and she reaches out to other wives when needed, but her love of the game means she rarely needs it.
“I don’t focus on the hard parts because I love it so much,”she says.
Read more about the Mark Pope’s transition from BYU basketball to UVU basketball here.