PROVO — During his 13-year career in the Canadian Football League, Ben Cahoon became known for his work ethic and as someone who got the most out of his size and talent.
Now, he'll be trying to instill that same work ethic, and pass on his vast knowledge about pass-catching and route-running, to BYU's wide receivers.
On Tuesday, Cougar coach Bronco Mendenhall announced that Cahoon, who is the CFL's all-time leader in receptions, is joining the coaching staff as the wide receivers coach.
"I'm extremely excited to have this opportunity to coach at my alma mater," said Cahoon, who played at BYU from 1995-97. "I am so grateful for the chance to play professional football in Montreal for the past 13 years, and now I'm looking forward to this new challenge as I enter the coaching profession. I plan to approach coaching the same way I played, with consistent effort, determination and hard work. I love BYU. I love what BYU stands for. I'm honored to be a Cougar."
Cahoon's hiring completes Mendenhall's staff. Mendenhall was looking to find a replacement for former wide receivers coach Patrick Higgins, who recently took a job at Purdue.
"I'm excited to announce the addition of Ben Cahoon to complete our coaching staff," Mendenhall said. "Ben is passionate about what we are doing at BYU and possesses a work ethic and a mastery of the receiver position that is nearly unmatched. He will have a tremendous influence on the young men under his care."
Also on Tuesday, Mendenhall announced that assistant head coach Lance Reynolds will coach the tight ends (he previously had coached the running backs); Mark Weber will continue to coach the offensive line; and Joe DuPaix, who was hired in January from Navy, will coach the running backs and coordinate recruiting. Last month, quarterbacks coach Brandon Doman was promoted to offensive coordinator. Doman will continue to coach the quarterbacks.
Mendenhall will continue to serve as defensive coordinator. Assignments for Steve Kaufusi (defensive line), Paul Tidwell (inside linebackers), Kelly Poppinga (outside linebackers) and Nick Howell (defensive backs) remain the same. Howell will now serve as special teams coordinator.
"We have a fantastic coaching staff in place," Mendenhall said. "We have the experience, expertise and passion to help the exceptional young men in our program be successful and have a great experience as we enter this new and exciting time as an independent program."
Cahoon retired from the CFL last week with an all-time record of 1,017 regular-season receptions for 13,301 yards — sixth in CFL history — and 65 touchdowns. In addition, he finished his playing career as the all-time leading receiver in Grey Cup history with 47 receptions and 666 receiving yards. Cahoon was also named the CFL's Outstanding Canadian in 2002 and 2003 as well as the Outstanding Canadian in the Grey Cup in 2003 and 2009.
An Academic All-American and team captain at BYU, Cahoon redshirted the 1995 season before playing in every game as part of the 1996 Cotton Bowl championship squad that posted a 14-1 record and finished No. 5 in the nation.
Cahoon started every game as a senior in 1997 while ranking No. 23 in the nation with a team-leading 931 receiving yards and 57 catches. He earned CoSIDA Academic All-America recognition in 1997, and was named to the All-WAC Second Team. Cahoon also received College Sporting News All-America honorable mention. He finished his BYU career with 68 receptions for 1,097 yards and six touchdowns. His 219 yards receiving at Arizona State in 1997 still ranks No. 9 in BYU history for a single-game performance. He was the recipient of the 2010 LaVell Edwards Distinguished Alumni Award.
An Orem native, Cahoon graduated from Mountain View High in 1990 and served a mission in Philadelphia. After playing two seasons at Ricks College, he transferred to BYU and played for the Cougars his final two seasons.
Cahoon graduated from BYU with a bachelor's degree in pre-physical therapy in 1998. He and his wife, Kimberli, have four daughters: McKelle, Kylee, Camri and Hallie.