Short, mini-crisis averted. Back in October, Oregon State and Gary Andersen “mutually parted ways” after the Beavers started the season 1-5. Assistant coach Cory Hall was promoted to interim head coach for the 2017 season as the OSU athletic department began their search for a replacement.
Last week, rumblings began that their search included the name Bronco Mendenhall, Virginia’s second year head coach.
John Canzano, a respected newsman in Oregon, says Oregon State has their target(s) for their football coaching position and says the shortlist is Cal OC Beau Baldwin & Virginia HC Bronco Mendenhall (who's an OSU alumnus): https://t.co/PdOumuVzRi— Jake Hatch (@JacobCHatch) November 19, 2017
A reporter bluntly asked Mendenhall what his answer would be should the Beavers come calling, and he did not mince words.
“That I’m not interested.” Mendenhall stated definitively.
Some thought he could be a candidate to line up for the Oregon State position for several reasons: he’s an OSU alum, he’s coached there twice before (including as defensive coordinator), and he was a finalist for the job back in 2014.
None of that appears to be a factor, however. “That job came open a number of years ago, and there will be rumors that are accurate that I was a finalist or the short list and that I was contacted...I’ve moved on since then.”
Even Virginia players saw the rumors. I’m on Twitter, too, so I saw all the Oregon State rumors,” fifth-year defender Micah Kiser said on Monday. “I was like, ‘No, no, don’t do that.’”
Kiser says that even though his time with Bronco was short, he’s made a huge impact. “I’m always jealous of the young guys.” Kiser stated. “They have four to five years to be with Coach Mendenhall.”
Fourth year wide receiver Andre Levrone had the same sentiment regarding Coach, almost verbatim, saying, “Only having two years playing for Coach Mendenhall, you wish you had four or five.”
After going just 2-10 in his first season at UVA, the Hoos are currently 6-5 and became bowl eligible for the first time since 2011. It appears as though Mendenhall is just gearing up in Charlottesville. “This is exactly where I want to be and, man, it’s just getting fun.” Mendenhall said. “We’re just starting to do some cool stuff. I haven’t seen this to fruition yet or even close I’m anxious and excited to do that.”
Kiser is confident that Mendenhall is the way forward for Virginia. “Great coach. Great person. Great hire. Best direction that this program could go in, honestly.”
The Hoos host the Hokies on Friday night at 8pm as Virginia looks to end a 13-game streak to their in-commonwealth rivals.