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Bronco Mendenhall
Bronco  Mendenhall

Head Coach

Alma Mater:
Oregon State (1988)


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The Bronco Mendenhall Primer

A collections of information, articles and links on UVA's new head football coach.


Head Coach Bronco Mendenhall

Head Coach Bronco Mendenhall explains how the approach to Spring Ball is different this year than in his first season with the Hoos.


Virginia vs. Georgia Tech (USATSI)

Images from the Cavaliers playing host to the Yellow Jackets in ACC action


Virginia vs. Indiana (USATSI Gallery)

Virginia vs. Indiana (USATSI Gallery)


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The Cavaliers begin the 2017 season by playing host to the Tribe.


Virginia Football at 2017 ACC Media Days

Virginia Football at 2017 ACC Media Days


USATSI Gallery - Virginia @ Georgia Tech

USATSI Gallery - Virginia @ Georgia Tech

Bronco Mendenhall is in his third season as Virginia’s head football coach after being named the program’s 40th head coach on Dec. 4, 2015.

In Mendenhall's second season on Grounds in 2017 he oversaw a defense that ranked No. 7 in the nation and No. 2 in the ACC against the pass (165.8). The group was headed by three-time first-team All-ACC player Quin Blanding, ACC Defensive Rookie of the Year Brenton Nelson and third-team All-ACC cornerback Juan Thornhill. Blanding finished his illustrious career with more All-America honors and as UVA's all-time record holder with 495 career tackles. The 495 career tackles rank tied for No. 6 all-time in ACC history and are the most by any ACC defensive back. Blanding finished each of his four seasons No. 2 in the ACC in tackles. Inside linebacker Micah Kiser was named the Campbell Trophy winner (Academic Heisman) and led the ACC in tackles for the third year in a row. Only Boston College's Luke Kuechly (2009-11) had previously accomplished the feat in league history. Kiser was also a three-time first-team All-ACC honoree and received multiple All-America honors over the 2016 and 2017 seasons, including becoming the first
Cavalier since Tiki Barber in 1996 to earn both academic and athletic All-America honors in the same season when he was a second-team CoSIDA Acdemic All-American in 2016.

Mendenhall saw the conclusion of quarterback Kurt Benkert's collegiate career in 2017. The UVA quarterback became the first player in program history to throw for over 3,000 yards in a season. Benkert finished 2017 with 3,207 passing yards and a single-season program record 298 completions. Benkert's 25 passing touchdowns in 2017 rank No. 2 all-time at UVA for a season. The starting quarterback for each of Mendenhall's first two seasons at Virginia, Benkert leaves No. 3 all-time at UVA in career passing yards (5,759) and passing touchdowns (46), which came in 24 career games for the Cavaliers.

In Mendenhall’s first season in 2016, offensively, Taquan Mizzell became the first player in ACC history to record at least 1,500 career rushing and 1,500 career receiving yards. Benkert also became the fastest quarterback in a season to reach 1,000 and 2,000 yards of passing, doing so in four and eight games, respectively.  He matched the feat again in 2017.

Mendenhall came to Charlottesville after 11 years as the head coach at Brigham Young University. In his 11 seasons, from 2005-2015, Mendenhall compiled an overall record of 99-43 at BYU to rank 12th in total wins among all FBS teams during that time.

In the three seasons prior to Mendenhall becoming the head coach at BYU, the Cougars compiled an overall record of 14-21. Over Mendenhall’s 11 years at BYU, the Cougars were one of only 11 programs to advance to a bowl game each season. BYU was joined by Alabama, Boise State, Clemson, Florida State, Georgia, LSU, Oklahoma, Oregon, Virginia Tech and Wisconsin during that time frame. 

Among those 11 teams, only Florida State achieved more bowl wins (seven) than BYU’s six bowl game victories. 

"Bronco Mendenhall's teams have consistently won at a high level and he's demonstrated the ability to create a strategic vision to build a program and then implement his plan to be successful," said Virginia athletics director Craig Littlepage when Mendenhall was hired. "His emphasis on the overall development of student athletes and a commitment to academic achievement is in line with our goals of Uncompromised Excellence. We're excited to begin a new era of Virginia football and support Bronco and his staff."

"Professionally and personally I seek to embrace the highest standards in college sports, on and off the field, and I love the high standards both academically and athletically at Virginia," Mendenhall said at the time of his hiring. "I am excited to not only help provide the continual growth and development of the student athletes academically but also reestablish Virginia as a consistent winner with a fiercely competitive and winning product on the football field.

"BYU has played the pivotal role in my professional and personal life and I will be forever indebted to the outstanding young men and exceptional people I have had the opportunity to work with at BYU. My success at BYU was possible because these great people chose the phenomenal, unique and faith-based experience available at BYU."

BYU football student-athletes have earned freshman All-America recognition in eight of the past 10 seasons. More than 60 BYU players have signed with NFL teams since Mendenhall arrived in Provo, including defensive end Ezekiel Ansah, the No. 5 overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft and Kyle Van Noy, the No. 40 overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft.

Under Mendenhall, the Cougars tied for seventh among all FBS programs for the most Academic All-America citations over the last decade and BYU tops all FBS programs with the most selections (39) to the National Football Foundation Hampshire Honor Society (recognizing starters and significant contributors finishing their eligibility with a 3.2 GPA or better over their college career) since the program began in 2007.

The success of Mendenhall's leadership approach in running the BYU football program has been highlighted in a management book, Running Into the Wind: Bronco Mendenhall -- 5 Strategies for Building a Successful Team, written by Alyson Von Feldt and Paul Gustavson, a leading management consultant specializing in leadership development and organizational design.

Mendenhall was elected in 2013 to the American Football Coaches Association Board of Trustees as the District 8 Representative and also serves on the AFCA Ethics Committee.

Mendenhall played for two years at Snow College (Utah) before finishing his career as a starter at Oregon State during the 1986 and 1987 seasons. He played both linebacker and safety for the Beavers.

Mendenhall began his coaching career as a graduate assistant in 1989 at his alma mater, Oregon State. After earning his master's degree in 1990, he moved to Snow College in Ephraim, Utah, where he served as the secondary coach and defensive coordinator from 1991-92 under current BYU assistant coach Paul Tidwell. Following two seasons with the Badgers, Mendenhall became the secondary coach at Northern Arizona, where the Lumberjacks boasted the top-ranked defense in the Big Sky Conference. He was elevated to co-defensive coordinator for the 1994 season.

In 1995, Mendenhall returned to Oregon State to become the defensive line coach under then defensive coordinator Rocky Long. When Long left to become the defensive coordinator at UCLA, Mendenhall was promoted to defensive coordinator for the 1996 season. At just 29 years of age, Mendenhall was the youngest defensive coordinator in Pac-10 history.

In 1997, Mendenhall became the secondary coach at Louisiana Tech where he helped the Bulldogs to a remarkable 9-2 record as his defensive unit was credited with 17 interceptions, allowing just 15 touchdowns on the season.

In 1998, Mendenhall moved to Albuquerque, N.M., to become the defensive coordinator and secondary coach at the University of New Mexico. Over the next five seasons, the Lobos improved from just three wins in 1998 to seven wins and an invitation to the Las Vegas Bowl in 2002. In the Lobos' 27-13 loss against UCLA in the Las Vegas Bowl, the Mendenhall-led defense held the Bruins to a season-low 167 yards.

Under Mendenhall, the Lobos led the Mountain West Conference in rushing defense for three straight seasons. In 2001, New Mexico gave up just 87.4 yards per game over the season. In his final season in Albuquerque, Mendenhall led the Lobos to a top ranking against league opponents in total defense, allowing just 316.4 yards per game. The Lobos also led the MWC in sacks in the 2000 and 2002 season, totaling 46 and 38, respectively.

At New Mexico, Mendenhall played a valuable role in the development of the 1999 Mountain West Player of the Year, Consensus All-American and first-round NFL Draft pick Brian Urlacher. The ninth overall selection in the 2000 NFL Draft, Urlacher was voted the NFL's Defensive Rookie of the Year and was a Pro Bowl selection. Urlacher was one of two rookies to play all 16 games, starting at middle linebacker the final 14 games to establish a team record for starts at the position by a rookie. He shattered Bears rookie records with 165 total tackles and eight sacks, making him the second Chicago first-year player to lead the team in tackles. Urlacher finished his collegiate career ranked third on New Mexico's all-time list with 442 tackles.

Mendenhall took over as BYU's defensive coordinator in 2003 before being named the Cougars head coach in 2005.

In his first year in 2005 after taking over a program coming off three losing seasons, Mendenhall led BYU to a 6-5 regular-season record and earned an invitation to the Maaco Bowl Las Vegas -- the team's first postseason bowl appearance in three seasons. The Cougars finished tied for second in the MWC with a 5-3 league ledger.

Following the 2006 season, Mendenhall was named the American Football Coaches Association Region IV Coach of the Year. In addition, the Football Writers Association of America named Mendenhall one of nine finalists for the prestigious Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award. On November 17, 2007, Mendenhall led the Cougars to a 35-10 victory over Wyoming to record his 25th career win. With the victory, Mendenhall became the only coach in BYU football history to win 25 games in his first 35 attempts.

In 2008, BYU finished 10-3 overall and 6-2 in the MWC to achieve three straight 10-win seasons and become the first teams in Cougar history to go unbeaten at home over three consecutive seasons. Mendenhall coached the Cougars to back-to-back 11-2 seasons in 2006 and 2007, while claiming consecutive outright MWC titles with a combined record of 16-0 against league opponents.

While recording an 11-2 record and 7-1 league mark in 2009, Mendenhall's team went 3-1 against ranked opponents, including a 14-13 season-opening win over No. 3 Oklahoma and a 44-20 season-finale Maaco Bowl Las Vegas victory over No. 16 Oregon State. BYU finished No. 12 in the final 2009 polls to earn the distinction of being one of only six programs nationally to be ranked in both final polls for four straight seasons.

In 2010, BYU's 52-24 New Mexico Bowl victory highlighted the progress and momentum the relatively young team gained over the course of the season as several freshmen played big roles in the season-ending victory. True freshman quarterback Jake Heaps became the first frosh signal caller in BYU history to start in a bowl, and he completed 25-of-34 passes for 264 yards and four touchdowns to be named New Mexico Bowl Offensive MVP. During the game, Heaps broke Heisman Trophy winner Ty Detmer's BYU record for freshman touchdown throws, finishing with 15 on the year to Detmer's 13. Redshirt freshman wide receiver Cody Hoffman caught three touchdowns on eight receptions for 137 yards in the bowl win, while true freshman running back Joshua Quezada ran for 101 yards on 15 carries and one touchdown.

In the first year of independence (2011), BYU posted yet another 10-win season, capped off by another comeback bowl victory over Tulsa in the Armed Forces Bowl. Riley Nelson took over the starting quarterback duties midway through the season and led BYU to a 6-1 record down the stretch. The Cougar defense also posted the No. 13 ranked defense.

A dominant defense led BYU to its seventh winning season in as many years as the BYU football team finished the 2012 season with eight wins, a program-best fourth consecutive bowl victory and the No. 3 defense in the nation. With an 8-5 record, BYU claimed its sixth season with as least eight wins under Mendenhall's eight-year head coaching tenure. Incredibly consistent all year long, BYU finished the year ranked No. 3 in total defense, allowing just 266.1 yards per game. The Cougars ended the season ranked in the top four in five major defensive categories.

BYU posted back-to-back 8-5 records in 2013 and 2014. The Cougars appeared in the 2013 Fight Hunger Bowl and in the 2014 Miami Beach Bowl.

Mendenhall has served as the BYU's defensive coordinator for much of his tenure as the head coach. He returned to a full-time role with the defense again in 2015.

During his tenure in Provo, the Cougars have consistently fielded one of the nation's strongest defenses. Mendenhall's defense excels at keeping opponents out of the end zone. Entering the 2015 season, they averaged a No. 20 national ranking in scoring defense while he oversees the defense, including three top-10 ratings.

Mendenhall and his wife, Holly, have three sons, Raeder, Breaker and Cutter.

Born: Feb. 21, 1966 in Alpine, Utah
Family: Wife, Holly, and sons, Raeder, Breaker and Cutter.

High School: American Fork High School, American Fork, Utah, 1984
College: Oregon State (Phys. Ed.), 1988
Graduate School: Oregon State (Master's of Education, Exercise Physiology), 1990

Playing Experience
Snow College JC (1984-85)
  • Gridwire All-American
  • Team captain
  • NJCAA National Champions (1985,11-0)
Oregon State (1986-87)
  • Played safety and linebacker; team captain (1987)
  • Leo Gribkoff Memorial Award (1987) given to the most inspirational player

Bronco Mendenhall Coaching Record
BYU (99-43)
Year Overall Conference Place Postseason
2005 6-6 5-3 MWC
2nd Las Vegas Bowl
2006 11-2 8-0 MWC
1st Las Vegas Bowl
2007 11-2 8-0 MWC
1st Las Vegas Bowl
2008 10-3 6-2 MWC
3rd Las Vegas Bowl
2009 11-2 7-1 MWC
2nd Las Vegas Bowl
2010 7-6 5-3 MWC
3rd New Mexico Bowl
2011 10-3 Independent N/A Armed Forces Bowl
2012 8-5 Independent N/A Poinsettia Bowl
2013 8-5 Independent N/A Fight Hunger Bowl
2014 8-5 Independent N/A Miami Beach Bowl
2015 9-4 Independent N/A Las Vegas Bowl
BYU Total 99-43 39-9 MWC
11 Bowl Appearance
Year Overall Conference Place Postseason
2016 2-10 1-7 T6th
2017 6-7 3-5 T4th Military Bowl
UVA Total 8-17 4-12 1 Bowl Appearance
Career Total 107-60 43-21 12 Bowl Appearances


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Jeff White

Director of News Content

A 1985 graduate of UVA, White worked at the Richmond Times-Dispatch until July 2009. He was honored six times as the state's Sportswriter of the Year.

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