Although Bronco Mendenhall has been called a “person of interest” for the Oregon State coaching vacancy, the Virginia coach claims he’s a person of disinterest.
Over the weekend, well-connected Oregonian columnist John Canzano reported that Mendenhall and Cal offensive coordinator Beau Baldwin are likely the leading guys on a short list of candidates the Beavers are pursuing to replace Gary Andersen. The former Utes defensive coordinator resigned earlier this season, walking away from $12.6 million in guaranteed money because things at Oregon State weren’t progressing as he’d envisioned.
On Monday, Mendenhall was asked about his interest in becoming the Beavers’ head coach. He was the runner-up to Andersen in 2014 when he pursued the job while at BYU.
“Not interested,” Mendenhall told Virginia reporters. “I’ve moved on since then.”
It wouldn’t be unheard of for a coach to deny interest publicly while pursuing a deal or looking into details behind the scenes, but Mendenhall seems happy at his new home in Charlottesville.
“This is exactly where I want to be,” Mendenhall said. “It’s just getting fun.”
Virginia (6-5) became bowl eligible for the first time since 2011 earlier this season, and the Cavaliers held the lead over No. 2 Miami in the second half before falling 44-28 on the road this past Saturday.
“I’m thrilled that we get an extra game,” Mendenhall recently said. “These kids, they’ve deserved it and worked hard for that. It’s necessary to build and to show credibility but also to gain momentum. Man, we’re just barely beginning this process of establishing a consistent and quality football program.”
Mendenhall, who's from Alpine, Utah, played defensive back at Oregon State from 1986-87 after beginning his college career at Snow College.
The 51-year-old got his first coaching experience at Oregon State, helping as a grad assistant in 1989-90. He returned to the staff for two seasons in the mid-1990s before making a name for himself as the defensive coordinator at New Mexico.
Mendenhall was at BYU from 2003-15, first as Gary Crowton’s defensive coordinator (2003-04) and then as the head coach (2005-15), before getting a golden opportunity at a Power 5 school.
This is his second season with Virginia of the ACC.