In a shocking move that few people saw coming, Virginia announced on Friday that Brocno Mendenhall will be the next head football coach of the Cavaliers.
Mendenhall will take over for Mike London who resigned as head coach on Sunday one day after Virginia finished 4-8 for the 2015 season.
“Professionally and personally I seek to embrace the highest standards in college sports, on and off the field and I love the high standards both academically and athletically at Virginia," Mendenhall said via a statement released by the school. "I am excited to not only help provide the continual growth and development of the student athletes academically but also reestablish Virginia as a consistent winner with a fiercely competitive and winning product on the football field."
Mendenhall, 49, has spent the last 11 seasons as the head coach at BYU, going 99-42 and leading the Cougars to a bowl game in each year including a bid to the Las Vegas bowl this season which the school accepted on Wednesday. BYU also won two Mountain West titles during his tenure in 2006 and 2007. He was named the conference coach of the year in 2006.
Prior to being named the head coach in 2005, Mendenhall served as defensive coordinator at BYU for two years. According to several reports, he will coach the Broncos in their Bowl game.
"Bronco Mendenhall’s teams have consistently won at a high level and he’s demonstrated the ability to create a strategic vision to build a program and then implement his plan to be successful,” UVa athletics director Craig Littlepage said. “His emphasis on the overall development of student athletes and a commitment to academic achievement is in line with our goals of Uncompromised Excellence.
"We’re excited to begin a new era of Virginia football and support Bronco and his staff.”
The hire comes as a surprise as Mendenhall was not rumored to be a candidate for any coaching position, nor was Virginia's interest in him made public. Mendenhall, however, has voiced frustration in the past with BYU leaving the Mountain West to become an independent in 2011 and has long stressed the school's need to join a conference.
Under London, Virginia went only 27-46 in six seasons and has not been to a bowl game since 2011.
Mendenhall will certainly have his work cut out for him in Charlottesville.
Virginia will hold a press conference to formally introduce Mendenhall as coach on Monday at 10 a.m.