Virginia promotes graduate assistant Vic So’oto to defensive line coach

Mendenhall names former BYU player to coaching staff


One of So’oto’s major appeals is the continuity he brings to the coaching staff.

Within a week of assistant head coach Ruffin McNeill’s departure, head coach Bronco Mendenhall had found his new man.

Graduate assistant Vic So’oto has been named defensive line coach as McNeill moved on to join the staff at Oklahoma as assistant head coach/defensive tackles under head coach Lincoln Riley. As an assistant in 2016, So’oto mainly worked with the defensive line.

So’oto and Mendenhall have a long history together, as the former BYU player and coach spent five seasons together from 2005 to 2010. Two of So’oto’s seasons were ended by injury, but his resume was impressive enough to warrant a role in the NFL.

Although starting on the offensive side of the ball as a tight end, So’oto finished his final three seasons as a linebacker, the position he found a role for in the NFL. He spent four seasons in the league, on six teams, from 2011-14. The Green Bay Packers gave him his start in 2011 as an undrafted free agent.

After his time in the NFL, So’oto interned at the BYU football offices in 2015 until Mendenhall brought him on as an assistant on Virginia’s staff in 2016. The promotion works well on multiple levels for the Cavaliers.

One of So’oto’s major appeals is the continuity he brings to the coaching staff. In times of transition, there is often uncertainty, but that is completely avoided with an in-house promotion.

He also provides a wonderful addition to the scouting team, since he has learned from and played at all levels of competition. His professional football experience allows for an easy introduction to high school football players, whose goal is often to reach the peaks So’oto has already peered over.

It is hard to question the move, a logical one as the program looks to develop stability and institute Mendenhall’s culture.

Drew Meyer has filled the vacated graduate assistant position, a former punter at Wisconsin from 2012 to 2015.

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