I love challenge. After visiting with the team today, it became very clear that that's what this team needs, and I think for the most part wants. —Bronco Mendenhall
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — New Virginia football coach Bronco Mendenhall plans to rebuild the Cavaliers football program through accountability, discipline and effort.
Mendenhall, who has coached the past 11 seasons at BYU, said Virginia is one of the few schools he would have left Provo for when he was introduced on Monday.
He said Virginia that the importance he and his wife place on education is part of the reason he took the job at Virginia, which is routinely ranked among the top public institutions in the country.
"If the value of education is something that is the core of what and who we are, where else would you go, especially when you can consider your growth and opportunity and a challenge?" he said.
Mendenhall has compiled a 99-42 record at BYU, and has guided the Cougars to a bowl game each year. The Cougars are one of just 11 programs to have a bowl streak that long, and Mendenhall will coach BYU in the Las Vegas Bowl against Utah on Dec. 19.
He replaces Mike London, who resigned after six seasons with a 27-46 record that included just one bowl appearance.
Mendenhall said had Virginia not been willing to let him finish the season with his team in Utah, it would have been a "deal-breaker."
He agreed to a five-year contract that starts at $3.25 million.
Virginia's men's athletic programs won the Capital One Cup with the best overall record in the country last season, winning national championships in soccer, tennis and baseball.
"When I look at all the other sports and how well they do, I don't think it's a valid argument to say it can't be done or won't continue to be done at that level in football," Mendenhall said. "That was intriguing to me."
He met with the team earlier on Monday, and came away with mixed reviews.
"I love challenge. After visiting with the team today, it became very clear that that's what this team needs, and I think for the most part wants," he said. "We'll find that out once the challenge starts, but I think that what they do want. I think they're hungry for success and I believe I specialize in accountability and discipline and effort.
"I'm an effort-based coach. I love more than anything guys that try hard."
Mendenhall said the Cavaliers' improvement will have to include upgrades in the program infrastructure, including the addition of a football specific building to show that the school is serious about finding success.
Mendenhall: I want and. I want to be a great father, husband, man of faith, pillar of community and football coach.— Virginia Football (@UVa_Football) December 7, 2015