Bronco addresses team before 2006 TCU game
February 21, 1966 |
|Coaching career (HC unless noted)|
|1989–1990||Oregon State (GA, DL)|
|1991–1992||Snow College (DC, DB)|
|1993||Northern Arizona (DB)|
|1994||Northern Arizona (Co-DC/DB)|
|1995||Oregon State (DL)|
|1996||Oregon State (DC/DB)|
|1997||Louisiana Tech (DB)|
|1998–2001||New Mexico (DC, DB)|
|2002||New Mexico (AHC, DC, DB)|
|2003–2004||Brigham Young (DC, DB)|
|Head coaching record|
|Accomplishments and honors|
|Mountain West Conference (2006, 2007)|
|Mountain West Conference Coach of the Year (2006)|
Marc Bronco Clay Mendenhall (born February 21, 1966) is the head coach for BYU Cougars football at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. Since becoming head coach in 2005, Mendenhall has guided the Cougars to ten straight bowl invitations, two outright conference championships and regular national top-25 rankings. The Cougars finished their first season as a football independent in 2011 with a 10-3 record and No. 25 final ranking to finish nationally ranked for the fifth time in the last six seasons.
Early coaching career
Bronco Mendenhall graduated from American Fork High School in 1984. In 1990, he served as a graduate assistant coach at Oregon State University in Corvallis, Oregon. From 1991 to 1993, he was the defensive coordinator for Snow College, a junior college in Ephraim, Utah. From 1993 to 1994, he was the defensive coordinator for Northern Arizona University. From 1995 to 1996, he served as the defensive coordinator for Oregon State. After the 1996 season, he was fired from Oregon State. In 1997, he served as the secondary coach at Louisiana Tech. From 1998 to 2002, he was the defensive coordinator for the University of New Mexico, where he and head coach Rocky Long developed a blitz-happy 3-3-5 defensive scheme that produced NFL first-round draft pick Brian Urlacher, who played in New Mexico's "Loboback" position, a cross between a linebacker and safety.
Move to BYU
In 2003 Bronco Mendenhall accepted the defensive coordinator position at BYU under then head coach Gary Crowton. Crowton resigned at the end of the 2004 season which was his 3rd consecutive losing season. The BYU head coach position was first offered to former Cougar linebacker and present Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham which resulted in Mendenhall calling UNLV head coach Mike Sanford about the defensive coordinator opening at UNLV. Mendenhall and his wife, Holly, were prepared to tell their sons about the move to UNLV when Whittingham rejected the offer from BYU and accepted the head coaching job at Utah as Urban Meyer's replacement. BYU players had been upset that Mendenhall had not been offered the job. In response, BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe interviewed Mendenhall first in the re-opened search. Two weeks later, Mendenhall was named BYU's head coach.
BYU coaching career
In 2005, his first year at the helm, the Cougars finished the regular season with a 6-6 record. Mendenhall switched back to the traditional uniforms with the Y logo on the helmets, which were worn by the most successful BYU teams. Quarterback John Beck, tight end Jonny Harline and running back Curtis Brown led an offensive attack that was BYU’s most potent since 2001, averaging 33.0 points per game (second in the MWC and 24th in the nation) and 462.4 yards of total offense per game. BYU tied for second in the MWC and appeared in the Las Vegas Bowl, their first bowl game since 2001, falling to California, 35-28.
In 2006, BYU posted its best record in five seasons. It knocked off 10 straight opponents over the final three months, registered a perfect 6-0 home record, and finished 11-2. The Cougars tallied a perfect clip against league opponents to win the Mountain West Conference championship, winning on the final play of the game at Utah. They decisively defeated Oregon, 38-8, in the Pioneer PureVision Las Vegas Bowl. BYU was ranked in the top-20 in the final Associated Press, USA Today, and Harris Interactive polls, and finished 15th in the final BCS rankings. Mendenhall was named Mountain West Conference and AFCA Region 5 Coach of the Year.
Mendenhall and the Cougars repeated as MWC champions in 2007 behind another perfect 8-0 MWC season and 11-2 final record. They finished the season ranked No. 14 in both the Associated Press and USA Today polls, BYU's highest finish in the national polls since 1996. To complement their 16-game conference win streak, the Cougars boasted the nation’s longest overall winning streak at 10 games. BYU reached its third consecutive Las Vegas Bowl, again winning in dramatic fashion after blocking UCLA's last second field goal to preserve a 17-16 victory. En route, Mendenhall became the first coach in school history to lead the Cougars to two consecutive bowl games in his first three years as head coach. A defensive specialist, Mendenhall helped BYU finish as the nation’s 10th-ranked defense.
In 2008, BYU finished 10-3 overall and 6-2 in the MWC to achieve three straight 10-win seasons and become the first teams in Cougar history to go unbeaten at home over three consecutive seasons. BYU earned a spot in the national polls each week during the season, including a ranking as high as No. 7. Mendenhall led BYU to a third-place finish in the MWC at 6-2 and yet another bowl berth in Las Vegas where the team lost to Arizona by a score of 31-21. BYU became one of only nine schools nationally to be ranked in the top 25 of the final BCS standings each of the past three seasons, with only five teams winning more games than the Cougars over that same time span. While stressing the need for balance in life, Mendenhall began a string of Academic All-Americans at BYU in 2008 as three Cougars—Matt Bauman, Kellen Fowler and David Oswald—were named ESPN the Magazine Academic All-Americans, a program record.
Junior wide receiver Austin Collie was named to six different All-America teams, including first-team All-America from CBSSports.com and second-team from The Associated Press. Collie led the nation in total receiving yards and receiving yards per game. He set the BYU single-season record of 1,538 receiving yards. Future NFL players Max Hall and Dennis Pitta were also among the top players in the nation at their respective positions.
BYU recorded an 11-2 record and 7-1 league mark in 2009. Mendenhall's team went 3-1 against ranked opponents, including a 14-13 season-opening win over No. 3 Oklahoma, a dramatic overtime win over No. 19 Utah and a 44-20 season-finale Maaco Bowl Las Vegas victory over No. 16 Oregon State. BYU finished No. 12 in the final 2009 polls earning the distinction of being one of only six programs nationally to be ranked in both final polls for four straight seasons. Individually, senior tight end Dennis Pitta earned Consensus All-America honors while setting the NCAA record for most career receiving yards by a tight end (2,901) and breaking Austin Collie's school record for career receptions (221). Scott Johnson and Matt Bauman gave BYU multiple Academic All-Americans again while future NFL running back Harvey Unga became the school's all-time leading rusher with his third-straight 1,000-yard season.
After losing BYU's winningest quarterback (Max Hall), all-time leading rusher (Harvey Unga) and consensus All-American tight end (Dennis Pitta), Mendenhall started the 2010 season 2-5 after playing six games against eventual bowl-bound teams. Mendenhall fired defensive coordinator Jaime Hill and took over defensive duties as the coordinator, resuming the position he held after originally joining BYU as an assistant coach. The change ignited the Cougar defense and the rest of the squad as BYU bounced back to finish the year winning five of its last six to place third in the MWC and earn the program's sixth-straight bowl invitation. BYU earned a 52-24 win over UTEP in the New Mexico Bowl. Junior Bryan Kariya was named an Academic All-American, the only FBS running back to earn the honor.
On Sept. 1, 2010, BYU also announced that the university's football program would become independent beginning with the 2011 season. Concurrently, BYU signed an eight-year contract with ESPN. Before the 2011 season, Mendenhall filled the departure of offensive coordinator Robert Anae by promoting quarterbacks coach Brandon Doman to offensive coordinator. He also named former Cougar and NFL player Kelly Poppinga to a permanent position on the defensive staff as outside linebackers coach. A few days later, Mendenhall hired Joe DuPaix as BYU's running backs coach and recruiting coordinator. Finally, he added former BYU and Canadian Football League wide receiver Ben Cahoon as the wide receivers coach.
At BYU's first-ever Media Day, Mendenhall announced that he had signed a three-year contract extension that would take him through the 2013 season. According to Mendenhall, "BYU wanted to make it longer term than that. I want to be worthy of the position I have and I'm going to give it everything I have for those three (years). I'm not saying I won't go farther than that. I hope that's reported. It's not three and done. But I'm willing to lead the charge through independence, then re-evaluate."
Embarking on its first season playing as an independent, BYU finished the 2011 season, Mendenhall's seventh as head coach, with its fifth 10-win season (10-3) in the last six years, seventh straight bowl invitation and third-straight bowl win. The Cougars defeated Tulsa in a 24-21 come-from-behind victory in the Armed Forces Bowl and earned a No. 25 final ranking in USA Today Coaches Poll. After another slow start to the season, Riley Nelson was named the starting quarterback after leading Cougars to a 27-24 victory vs. Utah State in the fifth game of the year, helping BYU win nine of its last 10 games.
On June 26, 2013, on the heels of an 8-5 season—including a Poinsettia Bowl victory over former Mountain West Conference rival San Diego State—Holmoe announced Mendenhall had extended his contract through the 2016 season. Said Mendenhall: "BYU is a special place and this is a special time. I'm excited to build on the success of our program over [the] past eight years, and I think there's much more that we can accomplish at BYU." 
Head coaching record
|BYU Cougars (Mountain West Conference) (2005–2010)|
|2005||BYU||6–6||5–3||T–2nd||L Las Vegas|
|2006||BYU||11–2||8–0||1st||W Las Vegas||16||15|
|2007||BYU||11–2||8–0||1st||W Las Vegas||14||14|
|2008||BYU||10–3||6–2||3rd||L Las Vegas||21||25|
|2009||BYU||11–2||7–1||2nd||W Las Vegas||12||12|
|2010||BYU||7–6||5–3||T–3rd||W New Mexico|
|BYU Cougars (Division I FBS independent) (2011–present)|
|2011||BYU||10–3||W Armed Forces||25|
|2013||BYU||8–5||L Fight Hunger|
|2014||BYU||8–5||L Miami Beach|
|National championship Conference title Conference division title|
|†Indicates Bowl Coalition, Bowl Alliance, BCS, or CFP / New Years' Six bowl.
#Rankings from final Coaches Poll.
°Rankings from final AP Poll.
Mendenhall is married to Holly Johnston. They have three sons: Raeder, Breaker, and Cutter. Mendenhall is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He is also the younger brother of former BYU and Washington Redskins player, Mat Mendenhall. Another brother, Marty, was a former Mr. Utah bodybuilder. Mendenhall's father, Paul, was a defensive end at BYU from 1953-54.
- "The Bronco Mendenhall file". Deseret News. May 30, 2005. Retrieved October 18, 2012.
- "Staff Profile - Bronco Mendenhall". BYUCougars.com. Retrieved 2008-09-27.
- BYU, Bronco Mendenhall agree to contract extension through 2016 season: http://byucougars.com/m-football/byu-bronco-mendenhall-agree-contract-extension-through-2016-season
- "Staff Profile - Bronco Mendenhall". BYUCougars.com. Retrieved 2010-10-06.