I love what Bronco has brought to the program. Every BYU class I ever took tried
to incorporate our faith into the curriculum. I learned that knowledge and faith
are compatible. I loved that.What Bronco has done is to apply that
same principle to the football program. It's seems so obvious in
retrospect, but I never realized it had been missing before Bronco came. Now, I
can't imagine the program without it. Thank you, Bronco.
When I think of Bronco's legacy, I will think of KVN. I think about how
his career started at BYU, and about the excellent young man he is now, on and
off the field, I think that exemplifies what Bronco is about. Yes, I
trumpet the fact that Kyle did the work. But Bronco guided him through troubled
I agree that Bronco is a great fit at BYU. The problem I have is that a head
football coach is a very demanding job. Bronco is so busy doing a bunch of extra
curricular activities that he does not put the time/effort that he should just
into coaching. Personally, I would like to see them get a real head coach (that
will ONLY focus on being a head coach, which is PLENTY), and have Bronco be the
D-coordinator and the program liaison (conducting firesides, befriending
players, making sure they are getting grades and following honor code, that they
become great men, etc.). There is enough work as the program liaison
that they should hire someone to do this as a full-time position. That person
can focus on Bronco's top 4 priorities, and then get a coach that can just
focus on football. I think Bronco would be a great D-coordinator and program
liaison, but I feel we can find a better head coach. Bronco cannot find enough
time and balance to do both at the highest level (and I don't know if
anyone else could either).
With regard to GPA, Coach Mendenhall has said that the indicator they have found
with the best correlation for adhering to the Honor Code is GPA. Thus, the
lower the GPA coming out of high school, the greater the perceived risk for
running afoul of the Honor Code, and there clearly is no higher priority than
adherence to that. It's true that Utah and BSU have lower GPA thresholds,
but that is frankly irrelevant since they are significantly different types of
institutions. Changing the subject back to whether Coach Mendenhall
is a great fit, yes, he is with regard to upholding the school's values,
for which he should be applauded. The problem I have with the "vote of
confidence" for him is that it seems to say he should be excused for
performance less than that of which the team is capable. We can have a top-5
defense but a mediocre offense? We play a badly-injured quarterback while a
healthy one who has never been given a serious chance languishes on the bench?
Fulfilling the religious mission of the school does not excuse one from glaring
deficiencies that should be easily remedied.
@Meckofahess - Sorry if my comments sounded 'holier than thou'; I
wasn't trying to say we are better than others. My intention was to point
out that at BYU, athletic success always needs to be secondary to turning out
great young men that are good citizens. BYU is only one of several institutions
that place higher value on discipline and/or academics than on sports. I only
wanted to emphasize that we as fans should not get caught up in the
'winning is all that matters' mentality that seems to be more and more
prevalent in the sports world.
Thank you Mr. Lundberg. Bronco has shown that he understands that BYU is a
unique institution. He gets it. Hopefully we can get some offense back, as
Meckofahess - Agree completely with your comments. BYU is not the only schools
with "standards". More than a few players have been removed from Dukes
teams, and even school for very BYU like infractions. Lets not get too chuffed
with ourselves. My sons buddy who played for Spurier at South Carolina and now
plays at Indy for the Colts..... was kicked off the Game Cocks for honor code
violations in his senior year - for what was reported as lying to the coach,
specifically about his rental agreement. It wasn't the trip to Southern
Florida or any of that - but lying to coach.There are a real lot of
good kids out there doing their best. Yes, some programs have lower standards
for their Athletes. I lived on the same for as the Jim McMahon Cougars, and
lets just say there was stuff going on there that these guys would not tell
their moms about in letters. But they were kids, doing kid things, mostly
harmless... most of the time.BYU is a great program, has a great
name for itself, lets not loose that just so we can brag about a 1 years
national ranking. It isn't worth it.
Which is more important? The "respect" of the BCS? Or the respect of the
good people on this earth who love sports? The BCS is corrupt and not worth
saving. The people are. I say let BYU athletics represent the latter. Live
well and play well!
Looks like John got his friends to support his article.One could
easily agree with his points that from an ethical, moral and standards side
Bronco has done an outstanding job. But, it wasn't a fair
evaluation, omitting the fact he has created a great deal of animosity among the
overall local fan base when he publicly calls them pharisees, know-nothing
people. His disdain of the media and the fans is a poor leadership style that
costs BYU. And his Riley syndrome is well documented...not a very humble fellow.
And playing a guy when he's hurt not only put Riley at risk but didn't
follow his own philosophy -- put the best players on the field. a player at 60%
capacity can't be replaced for Lark? Nonsense.
Woe - lets not hurt our arms patting ourselves on the back please. While I love
BYU football (have been a fan for 50 + years), I don't love this
undercurrent of "we are holier than thou" judgemental attitude we have
as exhibited in Long Time Fan's comment: "I can't bring myself to
cheer for pro teams or even many college teams that are made up of players who,
outside of their sports talent, have few admirable qualities". BYU is not
the only school that has good, moral and responsible young people. A reminder,
there have been plenty of high profile BYU grads/LDS people who have made
serious mistake in the national news lately - lest we forget. I think one of
Broncho Mendenhall's good qualities is that he generlly is humble. Even
though I disagree occassionally with a few of his decisions, I do admire that
quality. He sets a good example in that regard that we all could emulate. Let
us be humble and loyal and "see the good in the world".
Interesting article and comments. As a non-BYU fan (an understatement), I have
to say it was a couragous thing when the schools administration said a few years
ago that they were going to strictly adhere to the schools conduct standards in
all of their athletic programs. It was obvious, at the time to all outside the
circle, what the articles author pointed out that it's very hard to put
together 80 talented athletes that won't drink, smoke, or fool around with
their girlfriends while going to college. The current state of BYU football was
easy to predict regardless of who the coach is. The author seems to
have come to grips with this, good for him. The fans...not so much so. The
administrations goal seems to be first and formost certain behaviors from their
athletes and secondly athletic victories. Criticism of the coaches within that
reality is what sports is all about, but that is reality. Live with it and take
pride in the accomplishment of your goals..you're real goals.
Great article, well written and wonderful insight. I too was I shock to see from
afar what was going on at BYU under the previous regime. I was skeptical that
Bronco could turn it around but he has done a great job of steering it in the
right direction. Kids will be kids but he has set a tone and atmosphere that
allows kids refuge from the chaos that is ever present, for members of the LDS
faith and those who are not. Bronco recognizes that the school represents its
faith and has done a great job in elevating his program to try to emulate. Now
if the players and especially the fans would follow suit we would have the best
fans and players for sportsmanship in the USA.
Agree w/So Cal reader - why can't we have both? I commend Bronco for a
fabulous D this season, but this was a frustrating season - most wins against
subpar teams (combined records of 37-62). Nearly zero offense most games from
QB University (even low rate ESPN analysts made fun of the offense). Granted
most losses were to top 25 teams - but BYU used to BE a top 25 team!!!! I certainly want to have good citizens and representatives of BYU and
the LDS values. But by the amount of real estate on campus for the sports
programs (especially football), winning games has to be part of the BYU mission
- not just winning firesides.Other coaches have figured out how to
win and still fit into the BYU mission - hope the football program can figure it
out before I think about getting rid of my season tickets.
I judge a college coach and especially a BYU coach by these standards:1) Are there players good citizens? Not expecting perfection here but
generally do they bring honor to the program in how they act off the field.2) Do they graduate?3) Do the players love and respect their
coach and school? Do they play hard for their coach?4) Does the
program win games?5) Does the program develop players for the next
level where innate ability to do such exists?I think BYU and Bronco
does well in these areas...
So when coaches make mistakes they are not responsible? Sounds like the letter
of two weeks ago that blamed the fans for the problems of this past season.
i herd the minimum GPA to play football at BYU is 3.0 or a 3.3 with a lower ACT.
is this true? what is wrong with a 2.7 GPA athlet and with moral character and
lives the BYU standards? character who is a excellent football player with many
offers? I think he should be able to play at BYU as well since it may help them
to get to a BCS. Utah and I bet BSU has a lower gpa criteria for playing
Hear hear! Agree with all this writer says. Go Bronco, Go Cougars!
This is an excellent, thoughtful article. I was greatly saddened by the
scandals around 2004. That was not BYU football. I'm grateful that Bronco
Mendenhall has brought honorable football back to BYU. But, gosh, I wish he
could do better than going for two against Boise State!
I, too, agree with Mr. Lungberg's view ... for where the team is now. I
don't think Bronco's the right fit for where the team, according to
the AD and other school officials, wants the program to get to. Tom Holmoe, as
recently as his last press conference, talked about BCS bowls. As much as I like
the Cougs, they will not get a sniff of BCS respectability w/ Bronco at the
head, which is why I think the school has not extended his contract yet. If the
school though Bronco was the long-term solution to punch through the ceiling
into BCS respectibility, they would extended his contract. Bronco has also said
he wants to fulfill the terms of his current contract. I've said this
before, Bronco was THE perfect candidate to bring back the honor & dignity
of Cougs football. I just think he's fulfilled his mission to the school
I have the same feeling as those in the article. It's easy to get caught
up in decisions coaches make. Hind sight is wonderful. The decision made by
Bronco in the Boise game seemed wrong to me at the time. As I think about it
that was a gutty decision. Had it turned out like he hoped he'd been a
genius. As it turned out he was not. Regardless I think sometimes it takes
courage to make choices. I support Bronco in his coaching. I love BYU for what
it stands for. I watch any sports on the BYU channel, volleyball (Men and
Women), basketball (Men and Women), Football etc over watching any other sports
program. I might add I started following BYU in 1952.Gary
I wholeheartedly agree with Mr. Lundberg's comments. In the sports world
today, it is difficult to find examples of athletes who accept the
responsibility of role model and use their media attention to be a positive
influence. At BYU, there are dozens of great athletes who are also great human
beings. Even though I love sports of all types, I can't bring myself to
cheer for pro teams or even many college teams that are made up of players who,
outside of their sports talent, have few admirable qualities. I admire great
athletes who use their influence to be great role models in the community. BYU
athletic programs' primary focus should always be to produce these types of
athletes.It's unfortunate that many fans lose sight of the primary
mission of BYU, and unintentionally undermine that mission by unsportsmanlike
behavior at games or by being overly critical of the coaches and administration
in public forums. As fans, it is our job to be as exemplary as we hope our
players and coaches will be.
Great article Uncle John:) I agree with everything you said in terms of how he
has handled reviving the program's image after Crowton. I also have no
problems when Bronco makes reference to "spiritual" things, in fact I
always get a chuckle at the BYU fans who get all fired up when he makes such
references. However, when it comes to coaching the simple decision
to maintain Riley as a starter seems almost unfathomable, this is just one
instance. As an Aggie fan I've heard more than one Logan High chant from
well intentioned Cougar fans and I suppose in a way they were being prophetic .
. . never did I imagine that those Logan High chants would be a self-fulfilling
prophecy of things to come for BYU football (Riley). If I was in the shoes of a
BYU fan the question would be this, "Is there anyone in football coaching
who can bring the "mission" of BYU football to pass AND make the right
decisions on the field?" I personally think within the LDS ranks there are
many who could accomplish this, better than Bronco.
Both are really neat.
In the absence of other legitimate reasons stated in the letter, Chris B's
comment is the reason that this U grad is a BYU fan.
Great article with interesting perspective. Great to know that selection
committees have voices like that in them. Chris B-Nice bishopric
shot. The article did not mention bishoprics or church leaders, but leaders of
the US that come from schools such as Stanford, ND, service academies, and BYU
among others. Keep up the 'I hate BYU for every conceivable reason '
All you have to do is attend one of Bronco's pregame firesides to see he is
a great fit. More good happens there than when beating a top team on the
football field. (One of my friends committed to become a memeber of the LDS
church after attending the SJSU fireside this season.) Not only are
Bronco's values in the right place, his approach to coaching and
integrating best practices and technical innovation are second to none in all of
college football. Most are not aware of his innovations (they're a
competitive secret) that give BYU a leg up in spite of not working a ton of
hours. He is the best man for the job!
Well said and the main reason I get excited about BYU football every year. The
chances of the Cougars overcoming all odds, with the deck stacked against them
world of college athletics, is miniscule; but possibility of overcoming all odds
and doing it the right way is hard to resist. The individual stories of spirit,
tradition, and honor and development of future leaders makes me proud to be a
I agree 100%. Bronco is a great fit for BYU!
@ UtahBlueDevil. Excellent and accurate comments. Well said!
Thank you, John. I simply couldn't agree more.
I think this is an important part... what is the mission of the program. Being
associated with Duke University, it has been challenging at time to support its
football program, until you put it's mission in perspective of the overall
school. Duke doesn't need its football program to help craft its identity
like schools like Alabama and Florida do. Yes, Duke has a premier basketball
program, but it is much easier to find dozen student athletes that meet the
schools academic standards as well as being league leading players as well.
With football, the math is much harder. To find 50 to 80 players who can play
football and meet school standards is very tough. So with that, you like
knowing being competitive in football is probably good enough.BYU
has a special mission. Never should it allow football to ever tarnish that
mission\image. If that means having a less competitive program - that cost
should be worthwhile. If you can have a competitive program without sacrifice
school standards... then that is even better.
Good, thoughtful article. Dittos to everything in it.