Virginia's new head football coach should carry on the tradition of integrity set by outgoing coach Mike London. Bronco Mendenhall comes to Virginia after 11 years as head coach at BYU. Mendenhall was named BYU head coach in 2004 after being defensive coordinator under Gary Crowton. Mendenhall's integrity played a key role in his rise as a head coach.
Mendenhall's 2004 hiring is portrayed in "The System: The Glory and Scandal of Big Time College Football" by Armen Keteyian and Jeff Benedict. Here are a couple of excerpts.
From Crotwon, who had been fired as BYU's coach but was sought out for advice on who the new coach should be:
"I recommended Bronco because he would be very disciplined in exercising what he felt was right...there is no gray with Bronco. It's black-and-white." - page 134.
From BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe, who was sifting through potential candidates:
"About twenty-five [players] came into my office to tell me -- plead with me -- 'Please let it be Bronco." - page 134.
From Mendenhall himself, in which he expresses the need to be honest with recruits about the unorthodox standards at BYU:
"I don't want these kids to come and not know what they are getting into...if you don't acknowledge and aren't pretty clear about what they are getting into here, I think it borders on exploitation for the sake of playing a game." - page 137.
At a place like Virginia, with its rigorous academic standards, Mendenhall's honesty and integrity should go a long way towards building the type of program he wants. Virginia fans respected Mike London's high character. If the past is any indication, they'll be excited to learn that Mendenhall is cut from a similar cloth.