Virginia Athletics announced Friday afternoon that former Clemson offensive coordinator Tony Elliott will be the Cavaliers’ next head football coach. The news comes after current head coach Bronco Mendenhall announced Dec. 2 that he would be stepping down from the position.
Elliott has been with the Tigers since 2011, serving first as the running backs coach before being promoted to co-offensive coordinator in 2014. Last January, Elliott was named assistant head coach and offensive coordinator. Prior to his coaching stint with Clemson, Elliott played college football for the Tigers and made coaching stops at South Carolina State and Furman as well. This will be Elliott’s first head coaching position of his career at age 42.
After a coaching search that brought Mendenhall to Charlottesville from out of nowhere, Athletic Director Carla Williams and Virginia conducted a more predictable — albeit quick — process that ultimately landed on Elliott. After reports that perhaps Virginia alumnus and current Penn State safeties coach Anthony Poindexter may be next in line for the Cavaliers, Williams circled back to Elliott, who chose this job instead of accepting Duke’s head coaching position or staying at Clemson.
“We aspire to elevate U.Va. football in a manner that is consistent with the University’s core mission and purpose,” Williams said in an interview with Virginia Athletics. “Coach Elliott understands and embraces this amazing opportunity to do something really special at the University”
Elliott flew into Charlottesville Wednesday afternoon and after meeting with Williams and other administrators at Virginia, took time to make a final decision with his family in South Carolina. By Friday morning, it was evident that the job was his if he wanted it, and Virginia Athletics announced his hiring later that day.
Although Elliott has never been a head coach in college football before, he is very highly regarded in the coaching profession, with Clemson achieving a record of 89-9 when Elliott was in charge of calling plays. He — along with a coaching staff that is yet to be determined — will usher in an exciting new era for Virginia football.