A new era of Virginia Cavaliers football began Friday, when the school announced it signed Bronco Mendenhall as its new head coach.
His deal is a hefty one, per Brett McMurphy of ESPN.com:
Mendenhall spent the past 11 seasons in the same position with the BYU Cougars, where he was 99-42, the 12th-best record among all FBS teams during his tenure, according to USA Today. In that span, he led BYU to a bowl game every year—one of just 10 schools to do so.
Mendenhall will coach the Cougars in their upcoming bowl game, BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe confirmed to CollegeFootballTalk. His introductory press conference is scheduled for Monday at 10 a.m. ET, Virginia announced.
Athletic director Craig Littlepage issued a statement on the hiring Friday (via USA Today):
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. 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.
He wasn’t the first Virginia spoke to—it interviewed Mark Richt before the former Georgia coach accepted the Miami job—but Mendenhall reportedly made quite the impression when meeting with Littlepage, per Bruce Feldman of Fox Sports:
The Cavaliers parted ways with Mike London following their fourth straight losing season. This year, they finished at 4-8 and capped off the campaign with their 12th straight loss to rival Virginia Tech in the regular-season finale, blowing a fourth-quarter lead in the process.
London was 27-46 in six years in Charlottesville but registered only one winning season, going 8-5 in 2011.
By taking the helm at Virginia, Mendenhall will anchor a Power Five program and benefit from the Rolodex of resources it offers, which wasn’t the case at BYU, as Ralph D. Russo of the Associated Press noted:
But he’ll be facing remarkable coaching competition within his own division, as Zac Ellis of Sports Illustrated noted:
The Cavaliers desperately needed new blood on the sidelines, and Mendenhall brings a track record of proven success that can guide the struggling program in the right direction.