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Comments about ‘Jeff Benedict: The true story of how BYU came to hire football coach Bronco Mendenhall’

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Published: Tuesday, Sept. 10 2013 12:20 p.m. MDT

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Ellington
Bloomington, IN

Nice story, although I'll give one clarification. It wasn't only defensive players that were in Holmoe's office. I was there and John Beck was there, and at least two other offensive players were there to support Bronco. Also, we went up to his office in a very impromptu manner after practice. Many players had already left when we decided to head up yet I know others would had come with us had they been around / aware of what was happening. I'm sure glad things worked out the way they did!

bw00ds
Tucson, AZ

LaVell Edwards is such a class act.

@Ellington Thanks for your insight.

relientk
Saratoga Springs, UT

And yet Bronco has accomplished more than many others will ever accomplish.

Alterego
Harrisville, UT

I'm not sure Whittingham would have been able to do what Bronco has done in terms of winning AND promoting the university's AND the church's mission. Sometimes I wish Whittingham had chosen BYU (it is I believe, a choice he carefully considered) and at other times, I'm thrilled to have Mendehall at the helm of the football program.

Both universities got the man best suited for each school's culture and mission.

ekute
Layton, UT

Ellington,

Great comment. No doubt, both Utah and BYU are pleased with who they hired, but as a Ute fan I would be interested on how the team felt about the possibility of Whittingham coming to BYU.

Hawk
Littleton, CO

Thanks for sharing this. I have a brother who played under Lavell and with Kyle Whittingham (hope you don't mind me sharing this, bro). I remember calling him the morning that the rumors came out that Whittingham had taken the job to say, "looks like we got our guy". I was shocked to hear my brother (who personally likes and respects Kyle) tell me that he was literally sick to his stomach about the news. Good guy, but wrong coach. With the honor code and off-the-field issues BYU was dealing with and after the show of support from the defensive players, and knowing that Bronco acheived great defenses by DISCIPLINE, by bro felt the Bronco was only choice at the time that could lead the program where it needed to be.

DavidMiller
Bountiful, UT

Another year like last year and I could see Wittingham being in the hot seat come December but a 2-0 start having already avenged last year's loss to Utah State makes it see a bit premature to predict that outcome.

Let's stick to the subject of the article - Bronco and his coaching of the Cougars - rather than turning this into yet another rivalry article (@ChrisB & @EdGrady).

Hawk
Littleton, CO

So Chris, I forgive your ignorance -- mock the firesides all you want, but BYU fans who "get it" completely respect Bronco for immediately and fully buying into the mission of the institution. Bronco was the guy needed after the Crowton era -- based on utah's handling of discipline issues, Kyles MO wouldn't cut it. BYU's unique. Outsiders thought (think?) Bronco was crazy (clueless) when he stated that the honor code was an advantage, when he said that he could compete at a national level with BYU-type players, when he stresses to recruits that if they are not all in with the honor code then BYU is not the place for them, when he says "football is 5th", when he says that coaching football is NOT his life ambition, when he says that star ratings of recruits mean nothing to him (and he suspended a 4-star recruit befor he even joined the team), etc. But you know what? It works. Yeah, as Jim Rome says, "Bronco's a different kind of cat." And I have a WORLD of respect for the man because of it.

Duckhunter
Highland, UT

I also think this worked out the way it should. Whittingham did accept the job initially and BYU was set to make the announcement. Kyle's family was split over it with his mother and brothers wanting him to take the BYU job and his kids wanting him to take the utah job. His late father Fred's dream was for Kyle to be the BYU head coach and if he had still been alive I don't think there is any question Kyle would have kept his original committment and become the BYU head coach.

But things work out the way they are supposed to work out and Kyle reneged and stayed at utah. To me that was the right outcome although I think Kyle would have had some success at BYU I just think Bronco was the better guy in the long run.

Salemite
Salem, Ut

@ Chris B.

Dude, give it a rest.

Sounds right..
Cedar city, UT

I am pretty sure bronco has a better winning percent than whit. I could not be happier BYU got him instead of whit. Whit does not have the discipline to run a program at byu

Ellington
Bloomington, IN

@ ekute,

Speaking from my perspective alone not the whole team (as others might have had other opinions), the coaching news was all happening so fast we weren't so certain what was an option and what was not. From my recollection, there was a lot of respect and admiration for Coach Wittingham (still is), yet we knew Bronco from personal, first hand interaction which is really what drove me to go with the others to recommend him. I just remember being so impressed with his intensity, focus, and ability to push the defense, something we felt the whole team could benefit from (which I believe it has). It does seem like it has worked out quite well for both schools!

StGtoSLC
SALT LAKE CITY, UT

Hawk, I respect Bronco a lot for the man he is as well. But having spent some time around Kyle, I disagree with your opinion on him. He's a man with a great deal of faith, but has to respect the separation of church and state with the institution he's in. He heavily encourages his players to attend institute or visit with the team chaplains, but that's not something he has the ability to really preach in his position. I'd encourage you to read the article Vai Sikahema wrote last year concerning Harvey Langi's decision to serve a mission stemming from conversations with Whit without Whit overstepping his bounds as a state school's football coach (if you knew Harvey at all going into his college career, a mission was one of the last things on his mind). Bottom line, I'm glad Kyle stuck with Utah, but I have no doubt (no disrespect to your brother) that he would have been just as great at the Y.

StGtoSLC
SALT LAKE CITY, UT

Wishing for someone to lose their job just based on sports affiliation is a pretty senseless and classless move. Best of luck to both coaches.

StGtoSLC
SALT LAKE CITY, UT

Also Hawk and Sounds right, I disagree with your outsider assessment of Kyle's discipline based only on what you read in the news.

Utah'95
FPO, AE

Coach Mendenhall is an excellent football coach, and an outstanding fit for BYU.

But, I hope he loses to the Utes in 2 weeks!

54-10
Salt Lake City, UT

Duckhunter
Highland, UT

What did the Grandparents and aunts and uncles want Kyle to do?

Please enlighten us more, oh wise one.

Owl
Salt Lake City, UT

The story is true, but incomplete. The night before Whit was to sign a contract with BYU, 30 players and U donors went to his house and pleaded with him to stay at Utah. They offered him $650,00 per and a 3 year contract, but he demanded a 6 year deal or he would go to BYU. They finally agreed and he signed with Utah.
Absent from the story is Mendenhall's final interview with a church leader who only asked him about his personal beliefs and thoughts on integrity, not football. It was probably more influential in retaining Bronco than any other factor.
Both universities hired the coach that was right for them.

ekute
Layton, UT

Ellington,

Thanks for responding! Do the players laugh at how crazy some us get about the rivalry? lol.

Hawk
Littleton, CO

Yeah, StGtoSLC, with all due respect to Kyle (again, great coach, great man), he "grew up" at BYU in the era of McMahon (and others). It's a different era. After the issues under Crowton, it was an entirely new level of discipline and adherence required to the honor code. You must admit, it has a bearing on everything about the BYU program. Yes, Kyle very well could have implemented the mission of the institution throughout all aspects of the football program. But I'm happy for both schools for getting the man that is right for their program.

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