“I have been a head coach for 17 consecutive years. I was an assistant before 11 years old and I was a graduate assistant two years before, ”Mendenhall said at a press conference. “It’s 31 years in a row of football. My wife and I will be married for 25 years in March. All we’ve known together is the rhythm of a football season. That’s all my kids have known, and in January the three of us will be Holly and I are empty nests. And all they know is the rhythm and the cycle of football. We know very well what it looks like. “
Mendenhall, 55, did not rule out a return to training in the future, but said: “I have to take a step back from college football and re-evaluate, renew, reframe and reinvent with my wife as partner our future and the next chapter in our lives. “
The Cavaliers have been eligible to play in bowl games in each of the past five seasons having not bowled since 2011. Mendenhall’s most successful campaign came in 2019 when Virginia finished 9-5 ( 6-2 ACC), won the coastal division. and starred in the program’s first New Year’s Six Ball game.
“It has been a privilege that Bronco Mendenhall has led the Virginia soccer team for the past six seasons,” Virginia athletic director Carla Williams said in a statement. “He did an exceptional job not only transforming the program, but raising the expectations of the program. He laid the groundwork to propel our football team to the top. He is more than a football coach and the impact he has had on these young men will have a positive influence for the rest of their lives. … I have been fortunate to have been able to work with him for the past four years and wish him and Holly the best in their next chapter. “
Mendenhall has guided the Cavaliers to a 34-28 mark over his last five seasons and top 25 AP appearances in the 2018 and 2019 seasons.
As to where Virginia might look next, Mendenhall said he plans to be available to help Williams with the search, although he is unsure of his role in recruiting.
“My confidence and my partnership with her are out of the ordinary. I have already made myself available to monitor or advise, if necessary. We are so aligned. Today we visited everything the next head coach should have here, ”said Mendenhall. “We see it in exactly the same way. … I am sure that the one chosen for our program will be exceptional. “
Here are the lessons from his resignation announcement.
End of a stable course
Virginia had seven losing seasons in eight years when Mendenhall arrived after the 2015 campaign. After a 2-10 first season in 2016, Mendenhall raised the Cavaliers to .500 or better in the regular season for the last five seasons of his tenure. . It was a great stabilization effort in a conference he had never worked in before. Prior to joining BYU, Mendenhall was an assistant at New Mexico, Louisiana Tech, and the State of Oregon, among others.
The success of the next manager will obviously be a mystery, but given that Mendenhall was asked to stay, it’s safe to say that Virginia appreciated the stability he provided. This is no small feat in today’s climate of trigger-happy administrations and coaches.
Mendenhall showed the potential of UVA
Consistency was the hallmark of his tenure, but Mendenhall also had an impressive line-up. Virginia played in the Orange Bowl just two seasons ago after the Cavaliers won the ACC Coastal for the first time in their history. Their 2019 league record of 6-2 was their best since 2007 and a reminder that despite its limitations, UVA is a program that can go so far as to compete for championships from time to time. Virginia lost the Orange Bowl 36-28 to Florida that year, but it was the program’s most prestigious appearance in the playoffs since playing in the Peach Bowl after the 1995 season under. George Welsh.
A difficult end in 2021
Virginia started the 2021 season 6-2, a mark that included impressive road wins over Miami and Louisville. But the home stretch of the season was not in favor of the Cavaliers, who have lost four straight games, including a 29-24 home game against Virginia Tech on Nov. 27. Mendenhall’s only victory over the Hokies came in the 2019 season, but it was a significant one. The victory ended a 15-game losing streak for the program against rivals in the State. Mendenhall noted Thursday that the program now expects to “win the state.”
Mendenhall’s decision to step down means both state power conference programs will undergo coaching changes in the same year. Virginia Tech announced this week the hiring of Penn State defensive coordinator Brent Pry to replace Justin Fuente. Coincidentally, the terms of Fuente and Mendenhall each lasted six seasons.