Next up in the series of Head Coaching candidate breakdowns is the current Head Coach of the Virginia Cavaliers, Bronco Mendenhall. It’s time to get up to speed with Mr. Mendenhall, and see if Beaver Nation should be up for #BeavsForBronco.
Mendenhall started his career in collegiate athletics as a Defensive Back at Snow College before transferring to Oregon State University to finish his playing career with the Beavers.
Once Mendenhall was done playing sports, he was brought on as a Graduate Assistant for the Beavers. From there, he was converted to a D-Line coach for the Beavs, but after 2 seasons with OSU, Mendenhall left and began a fifteen-year journey throughout college football. This run of coaching included trips to Snow College, Northern Arizona University, Oregon State (again), Louisianna Tech University, and New Mexico University before finally landing at Birmingham Young University.
When Mendenhall arrived at BYU in 2003, he signed on as the Defensive Backs Coach. Eventually, he transitioned to the Defensive Coordinator of the Cougars before becoming the Head Coach of BYU in 2005. It took him fifteen years to land his first head coaching job, but Mendenhall made sure that it would last, as he stayed with BYU for eleven seasons as their Head Coach.
During his time with BYU, Mendenhall created a winning culture with the Cougars. Over the span of his eleven seasons as the BYU Head Coach, Mendenhall went 99-43 with the Cougars. He accumulated two Mountain West Conference titles (while BYU was still in the MWC) as well as the MWC 2006 Coach of the Year award. He took the Cougars to a bowl game for every year he was a coach at BYU. During these eleven bowl games, Mendenhall and his teams went 6-5 in bowl season.
In 2015, Mendenhall shocked the College Football World and left BYU for Virginia University. This blew everyone away, as reports had been leaking that Mendenhall turned down the UCLA coaching position years prior to Jim Mora taking over the job. In his first season with the Cavaliers, the team went 2-10. However, this 2017 campaign has been a swift turnaround for UVA, as they are currently 6-5 and bowl eligible for the first time since 2011.
Likelihood of Coming to Oregon State?
Very, very low.
The Mendenhall connections to Oregon State makes a ton of sense, based on his coaching experience in Corvallis. However, Mendenhall has publicly stated that he is not interested in the Head Coaching position for the Beavs, "I was contacted,” Mendenhall stated. “And so I've moved on since then. This is exactly where I want to be. It's just getting fun. We're just starting to do some cool stuff."
Mendenhall has a history of turning around historically bad programs, so seeing him come to Corvallis would have created a buzz around campus. Yet, it just wasn’t meant to be. As it seems he is happy with the Cavaliers and, based on the UVA’s turnaround, is making good progress in shaping that team.
So, it seems like it’s time to stop horsing around with Bronco (see what I did there?). Which is fine, as Oregon State still has a plethora of qualified candidates to choose from. The OSU administration certainly had a backup plan in case Mendenhall didn’t pan out as a coaching candidate.
What say you, Beavs? Think it’s #BeavsForBroncos? Or is it time to giddy up and move on from Bronco (last bad pun, I promise)? Sound off below!