Some coaches are just too good for the program they’re associated with, and you can now definitely place Bronco Mendenhall in that category. The former coach of the BYU Cougars sits at No. 2 on the program’s all-time win list, and during his tenure there, he led his team to two outright conference championships and regular appearances in the top 25 of the NCAA football rankings.
Then on Dec. 4, 2015, after amassing 99 career wins, Mendenhall decided to pursue No. 100 in the navy blue and orange of the Virginia Cavaliers. Mendenhall guided the Cougars to 11 straight bowl appearances and has gone 6-5 during that span. The Cavaliers have 18 bowl appearances in the program’s entire history with 11 failures.
Since the decision was made, there hasn’t been much to report. Some of the most interesting news that has come out of Charlottesville has been based around the fact that Mendenhall and his family have been living in a 44-foot camper until their new home has been renovated. One truly has to work hard to find a story about Cavaliers football that the general public might find interesting.
Still, it’s one of the great football minds in this country that will be leading the new-look Cavaliers. Mendenhall’s presence on the sideline gives this program instant credibility. Typically you’d see a coach leave one program that he’d used as a stepping stone to achieve a better position at a more prestigious one. In this case, Mendenhall appears to have taken a step backwards. Maybe it’s job security. It would be hard to imagine the Cavaliers firing this level of coach for any reason, but Virginia isn’t BYU. His reasons may be confusing, but this is the arrangement we as football fans are left with for now.
We’re either looking at better days for Cavaliers football or a great coach wasting his time and talents with one of the bottom feeders of the ACC. The most believable scenario would probably be the latter.