Virginia coach Bronco Mendenhall’s surprise resignation tilted college football back on its axis a bit

Pictures of Bronco Mendenhall appeared on Zoom screens late Thursday for the last time as the Virginia coach. It could also be the third act of a scenario that describes this college football season.

In the performing arts, the third act is when all the loose ends are tied up. It offers a solution. That’s when the story ends: go black, clap hands, drive home safely.

Mendenhall’s was a great performance. He has no intention of doing so, but after this year, this season – even the last 96 hours – the Virginia coach has been a convincing voice of reason in resigning from his Cavaliers position.

Mendenhall abruptly resigned on Thursday citing the need to “reassess, renew, readjust and reinvent, with my wife as a partner, our future and the next chapter of our lives. .”

Minutes earlier, the 55-year-old coach stood up to his players and did exactly what Lincoln Riley and Brian Kelly did this week: give up. Except this time, it makes perfect sense. It has pulled the strings of your heart.

After the turmoil and turmoil of this season, Mendenhall has pushed the sport back on its axis a bit. He added some common sense to the nonsense.

The only drama is that the coach starts having these thoughts on Sunday and acts on them on Thursday.

“I would very much like to say that there has been this build-up and a long amount of obvious and thought-provoking things,” Mendenhall said. “But clearly this week, I have the clear feeling that I need to step back College football. “

Loose ending? There are many of them. All Virginia employees are currently looking for work. Mendenhall himself didn’t know what came next. If the different minds running the sport come together, Mendenhall would be the perfect man as the first commissioner of college football.

That was the depth of his thinking. That’s how he is respected.

Others have quit their jobs for family life. Fewer classes at a time where the game could use it. Mendenhall becomes the 24th coach to leave his post since the season began. Here’s the madness of it: He’s only the ninth coach to do so since the regular season ended.

The world of college football and its axis has been tilted this year. The average coach has to reevaluate in a different way: from scouring the transfer portal to dealing with the complexities that arise from name, image and likeability.

Is that worth a 10 year money guarantee? In the last month, the number of college football coaches earning the least was on average NFL Coach salary ($6.7 million) has doubled from four to eight. These aren’t necessarily bad things, just a glimpse of the landscape Mendenhall left out on Thursday.

The coach never spoke directly it all became too much. However, he paused briefly to point out that in the past four days, 263 FBS players have entered the transfer portal.

The coaches have been laid off, fired, and the two sides have agreed to depart in installments over the past few months, but neither of them have given up their $4 million salary to spend more time with their wives. We will listen to Mendenhall and await the next chapter in a fascinating life.

Prior to Virginia, he spent one of his 26 years training east of the Rockies. For 11 years, the former Oregon State defender coached BYU. The program and faith are perfectly suited to devout Mormons.

But in 2015, like Thursday, he wanted to try something new and take a job at a place known more as law school than patrons. During his six years at Virginia, Mendenhall hit 36-38, leading the Cavaliers to the Orange Bowl 2020.

Casual fans probably don’t know Marc Bronco Clay Mendenhall. He was born in Alpine, Utah, made a name for himself by winning 56 games in six seasons at BYU, and is known for his unorthodox coaching methods.

Mendenhall has a saying: “No one can save you”. When things get tough, it’s up to you. In his office used to be a picture of an offensive cruiser, Ben Trent, who used his senior year of eligibility at FCS Delaware.

“Coach,” Trent signed the picture, “thanks for not saving me.”

“I want, at the end of my life, to have so much value that people forget I’m a football coach,” Mendenhall said on Thursday. “That they’ll have to go back and look it up.”

He was always an all-round man who also coached football. Mendenhall raised three sons; the second is the Mormon quest. The whole family rides and trains horses. Days after COVID-19 shut down the country, Mendenhall can afford to say out loud what the sport is thinking: There may not be a season due to the pandemic.

Thursday’s decision is half Jack Kerouac and half sensitivity training. Mendenhall started Zoom essentially telling reporters that there was something else in life.

“It’s been 31 consecutive years of football,” the coach said of his career. “And my wife and I will be married for 25 years in March. All we know is the rhythm of a football season.”

He said it as if it were a negative, as if there must be something than out there. Mendenhall ended the session to give reporters riding lessons … not for free.

“I don’t know what’s next,” he said. “I’d say I didn’t decide until I had a plan. I didn’t have a plan.” Virginia coach Bronco Mendenhall’s surprise resignation tilted college football back on its axis a bit


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