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Bronco Mendenhall stepping down as head coach of Virginia football

The shocking announcement comes five days after the Cavaliers concluded their regular season with a loss to Virginia Tech

<p>Mendenhall led to the Cavaliers to a 6-6 record in the 2021 regular season, bringing his overall record in Charlottesville to 36-38.</p>

Mendenhall led to the Cavaliers to a 6-6 record in the 2021 regular season, bringing his overall record in Charlottesville to 36-38.

Virginia football Coach Bronco Mendenhall announced Thursday evening he is resigning from the head coach position following the Cavaliers’ upcoming bowl game. Despite a disappointing end to Virginia’s regular season, the news still comes as a shock to the college football community.

After 11 years as the head coach at BYU, Mendenhall came to Charlottesville with the vision of reviving a football program that had floundered in recent years. Six years later, there is no doubt that Mendenhall will be leaving the program in a better position than it was when he arrived.

“Six years ago, I showed up in Charlottesville on this amazing adventure,” Mendenhall said. “And it’s been one of the most amazing journeys of my life, to this point.”

A primary emphasis of Mendenhall’s time in Charlottesville was developing young men off the field before achieving success on the field. In this way, he built a powerful culture in which winning became the expectation.

“It has been a privilege to have Bronco Mendenhall direct the Virginia football team over the past six seasons,” Athletic Director Carla Williams said. “He has done an exceptional job of not just transforming the program, but elevating the expectations for the program. He has established the necessary foundation to propel our football team upward. He is more than a football coach and the impact he has had on these young men will be a positive influence for the rest of their lives.”

In his six years at Virginia, Mendenhall has an overall record of 36-38, highlighted by a 9-5 record in 2019. Mendenhall's 2019 achievements include the Cavaliers’ first win over Virginia Tech since 2003, an ACC Coastal Division Championship and a trip to the Orange Bowl. Additionally, Mendenhall led Virginia to a Belk Bowl win over South Carolina in 2018, and with six wins in 2021, he has coached the Cavaliers to five consecutive bowl-eligible seasons.

While many Cavalier fans will speculate reasons for his departure, Mendenhall indicated that the team’s four-game losing streak to end the season was not a factor and that serious contemplation of stepping down only began Sunday.

“This week, there was a sense of clarity to me that I needed to step back from college football and reassess, renew, reframe and reinvent — with my wife as a partner — our future and the next chapter of our lives,” Mendenhall said.

Although Virginia still has a bowl game to play, the search for a new head coach starts now. The pressure will be on to find a candidate who can build off the foundation that Mendenhall has laid.

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