BYU coach, players answer questions at fireside

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  • NorthboundZax Makanda, IL
    Sept. 2, 2014 4:13 p.m.

    In general, I think we'd be better off with a separation of church and football… but, that was an interesting Q&A.

  • Duckhunter Highland, UT
    Aug. 30, 2014 8:26 p.m.

    Let's see, it was a Thursday night fireside with a football team and people are bothered that a football question or two were asked? Why?

  • Cougar Passion Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 30, 2014 5:50 p.m.

    "well informed",
    My understanding is that, yes, they do take place in the chapel. Whether answering a fireside question about conference realignment is inappropriate, I suppose it depends on who you ask. I have heard LDS members on several occasions say something against BYU in Sunday meetings since I have moved to the Salt Lake Valley. I don't think sports has a place at the pulpit from any side if the purpose is to show disdain for others.

    In this case, the article clearly states that Mendenhall was taken by surprise in the change of format. Of course, Bronco could have said, "I know we said you can ask us questions, but we will have to address that outside of the chapel." Knowing Bronco, though, I wouldn't be surprised if he chooses to say there will be no "surprises" in the format going forward. A lot of effort is put into these to be used as a tool to bring people closer to the Gospel, whether already members or not. I'm sure you are well informed about Kyle Van Noy; he would not be where he is today if not for these firesides.

  • well informed Salt Lake, UT
    Aug. 30, 2014 12:04 p.m.

    I'm assuming the firesides take place at an LDS chapel or somewhere in the church building. I think it's interesting that conference realignment would be talked about at the pulpit. And yes I am a member of the church.

  • Cougar Passion Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 30, 2014 11:02 a.m.

    It's been an amazing missionary tools for years, with far wider reach than most realize. I was on my mission in Japan shortly after BYU won the national championship. My companion and I rode our bikes past a university where some guys were playing American football. As we did, I saw one of them looking at us and, in Japanese, said something about BYU. I was amazed, but realized after reflection that news of BYU's championship must have been reached American football aficionados there as well, and they made the connection to the missionaries.

    A couple of months before that, I was serving on a small island between Okinawa and Taiwan and saw through the window of a house we were approaching what appeared to be BYU playing Michigan in the Holiday Bowl. We knocked on the door, my Japanese senior companion explained I had gone to the university being represented in the game, and they invited us in to sit and enjoy it with them--talk about the tender mercies of the Lord for a die-hard fan who was overseas while BYU was ranked #1. Yes, it has been a missionary tool for a long time.

  • eastcoastcoug Danbury, CT
    Aug. 30, 2014 10:07 a.m.

    I've watched BYU football since the '60's. I've never really understood the mission of the program as clearly as I did Thursday night. It was such an amazing thing to see these young men without the helmets and pads talking about who they are. I've done a lot of work with youth in education and career development over the years and find so many good things in young people of all countries and walks of life, and appreciate what BYU is trying to do to develop the whole character of these young people.

    I can't understand anyone "hating" these kids or what they represent. It may not be your school or your flavor of football, but "Hate" should be outside the thinking of anyone with respect to our youth, no matter who they represent.

    I particularly cannot understand (and never have understood) the "hatred" some members of our own Church express towards BYU and these players. We can make up our reasons and excuses, but in the end, hatred is wrong.

  • USAlover Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 30, 2014 9:51 a.m.

    Let the criticism and hate begin. But this is why I cheer for BYU, win or lose.

  • Duckhunter Highland, UT
    Aug. 30, 2014 9:04 a.m.


    Your bitter hate causes you to miss what really occurs because of these firesides. It isn't about how many baptism's, if any, come from them. There are two purposes to these.

    One is to allow the member's of the team the experience of sharing their spiritual identities with others and by doing that allowing their own testimonies to grow as well as affect those in the audience spiritually.

    The second is to show that there is more to these guys than just football, and there is more to the BYU program than just football. It is for the edification of all those that attend, presenters and audience.

    If a baptism occurs in part because of one of these firesides then so much the better but I highly doubt that is the purpose.

    Maybe you don't understand this but Missionary work is about more than just baptisms, it is also about exposing the beliefs and inherent goodness of the gospel to the masses whether they join the church or not. Goodwill is a good thing.

    You could use a lesson in that concept.

    Aug. 30, 2014 8:47 a.m.

    There was a time that men played the game to learn character. It became a part of life's lesson. Sportsmanship, teamwork, dedication were not just buzzwords but part of the game. Maybe BYU does a good job at doing this - maybe they don't - but it seems like they want to.

    I know other coaches seem to care about this - For example Coach Strong in Texas appears to. But these men are fading and becoming lost to the demands of fools.

    Winning is important - and one should hate the concept of lose, it is a deplorable habit, but winning has seemed to have risen to become the only goal.

    The fact is these young men stood up before a crowd and presented themselves with dignity - we should all be impressed with any young man on any team that does so.

    As for Spencer Hadley - I know this young man and he is a good person - but I guess Eight Oh One has no sins so is allowed to cast the first stones.

  • SLCWatch Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 29, 2014 11:21 p.m.

    @Brave Sir Robin-

    Actually you are correct for once. I attended the one in San Diego at the Poinsettia Bowl. I talked to a number of investigators who were very impressed with the spiritual strength of the team and the individual speakers and they stated they were looking forward to their own baptisms. Rather than thinking in terms of it being foolishness please stop in next time a fireside is held and see for your self what people trying to be more looks like and learn that snide remarks only cast you in the light of one who judges a matter before he hears it.

    And EightOhOne:
    Spencer Hadley graduated, he made the first cut in the NFL as a walk on and he has learned valuable lessons about following rules and instructions, remorse and repentance, and how to do better than repeatedly drag someone else through the mud which you seem to still be standing knee deep in. But then you knew that, didn't you.

  • EPoint Roy, UT
    Aug. 29, 2014 9:54 p.m.

    Now if the Cougar players could reign in their emotions that cause them to commit so many personal fouls on the a few more games. Playing to win means playing under control, no committing costly mistakes... 14 penalties for 140 yards! Unacceptable.

  • WA_Alum&Dad Marysville, WA
    Aug. 29, 2014 8:08 p.m.

    I have been to one of the firesides, and it was great. Packed to the gills. Anyone who STILL wants to mock them is showing something is missing in them.

    I agree that it would be great if BYUtv were to broadcast them. How do we make that happen?

  • kfbob SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Aug. 29, 2014 4:24 p.m.

    Great article. Yes there is more to life than football. I applaud Coach Mendenhall for staying true to his/university core values. These young men are making a difference. I wish the same could be said for all college athletes.

  • Brave Sir Robin San Diego, CA
    Aug. 29, 2014 3:48 p.m.


    Yep. People line up to get baptized after watching BYU football.

  • ed in atl Duluth, GA
    Aug. 29, 2014 2:52 p.m.

    I have attended a few of the Firesides and think it would be awesome if they could be broadcast on BYUtv.

  • gee-en Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 29, 2014 2:01 p.m.

    These firesides are one of the coolest things the BYU football team does. These are neat experiences for anyone participating and will be cherished memories for all involved.

  • Wiscougarfan River Falls, WI
    Aug. 29, 2014 1:57 p.m.

    Wow, who knew that the best way to get the inside scoop about what's going on in the BYU football program would be to go to a fireside? Lots of great stuff here, I especially liked hearing Bronco's take on "the missionary advantage"--well said.

  • Hoosier87 American Fork, UT
    Aug. 29, 2014 1:51 p.m.

    Gotta beat Chris B to the punch...

    I love hearing things like this. Nice job Coach Mendenhall and team. Makes me very proud to support the Cougars.

    I know some of you don't like to hear it - but BYU sports is becoming an amazing missionary tool for the church - has been for a long time in fact. With the exposure of BYU football, more people than ever are becoming aware of the church. So mission accomplished!

    Chris B and other Utes - turn on ESPN today and watch, after a few weeks you'll bleed blue too!