Brandon Ogletree: Bronco Mendenhall really is how Jeff Benedict's book portrays him
Coach Mendenhall is a pretty introverted guy, so I was very curious to see what the confrontation was going to be about, especially on the heels of a heated practice session. I slowed my stroll just in case I needed to break up an altercation or something, only to hear my coach ask, “Are you the guy that cleans my office?”
When the young man affirmed that he was, coach Mendenhall shook his hand and said, “Thank you.” He then continued his walk back to the locker room.
I then realized that Mendenhall cares a great deal about football, but he cares more about things that are a lot more important, and he lives his life according to what he believes.
A similar example came on the bus ride home after last season’s loss against Utah. The man driving our bus had grown confrontational and hostile when he was asked to drive the bus a few blocks back to the stadium to pick up some members of our team who had been left behind.
After an agonizing loss in a rivalry game, it would’ve been very easy to erupt and take out frustrations on a bus driver that was clearly going out of his way to be antagonistic, but coach Mendenhall patiently asked the driver to please return to the stadium as there was no other bus left to pick the players up. Again the bus driver protested, again coach Mendenhall patiently asked if he would please return to the stadium.
That type of tolerance doesn’t come from someone who is not spiritually balanced, and it’s hard for me to imagine another person — let alone a Division I football coach — who would handle a situation like that.
Bronco Mendenhall is not perfect. He’s a flawed human being, who, I am sure, has much to improve on. (If he doesn’t, then I know his wife for sure has a laundry list for him.) He is, however, a principled leader of young men, dedicated to his beliefs, who works hard to achieve lofty goals.
In the current landscape of college football, that is a breath of fresh air and something to be appreciated.
Brandon Ogletree was a linebacker on the BYU Cougars football team from 2008 to 2012. He now writes thoughtful football conversation on OgletreeFootball.com. This is his first contribution to DeseretNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @Ogletree44
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