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PROVO — It was a blur.
Bronco Mendenhall was just introduced as the new football coach of BYU and he wasn’t sure what he had just said to the media.
“I remember going back to my office and wondering ‘What did I just do? What did I just say? How did it come across? And how will it work?’ I had a lot of questions.”
Now Mendenhall is getting ready for his 10th season as the head man at BYU. He said he can’t believe he made it a decade. But something changed.
“It’s become a lot clearer of what it means (to me) to feel like you are supposed to be at a place,” Mendenhall said on BYU’s media day.
Mendenhall has had plenty of fond memories as the head football coach. He reflected back on John Beck’s last incomplete pass in the Cougars 34-31 rivalry loss to Utah in 2005.
“Walking off the field he said ‘If I have a chance to do that again, I will wait longer.’ And then he had a chance to do it again and he waited longer.”
The result was Beck’s game winning touchdown pass to Johnny Harline at Rice Eccles Stadium in 2006.
Mendenhall also mentioned Kyle Van Noy’s commitment to BYU after a DUI and Andrew Rich spurning scholarships to walk on at BYU. But his time spent with players has meant that he is not spending it with his wife and 3 sons. It’s something that weighs on his mind a lot.
“Is what I am doing strong enough and compelling enough in terms of…being an example to justify (being the head football coach),” Mendenhall said. “I think my boys…believe it is."
The football grind has not been easy on Mendenhall’s family. Fans can be a bit too fanatic and his children have also told him that other kids only want to be their friends because Bronco is BYU’s head coach. And he and wife Holly have had to coach their oldest son, Cutter, on how to respond to people who want to know if he’s going to follow in his father’s footsteps.
“What he simply says now is, ‘No. We have enough football in our family.’”
For the football fans who don’t like that he places football 5th on his priority list, Mendenhall said get used to it.
“If I’m asked to say it, I’ll say it again. That does not mean that football is not important. It’s my livelihood,” he says.
He also wishes he was more stable after a loss.
Despite the ups and downs, Mendenhall would have only changed one thing in his time at BYU.
“I think I would smile more,” said Mendenhall. “I think I would really work to enjoy it more.”
And if Mendenhall had a chance to go back in time and give himself advice after he accepted the job as head coach, he would tell himself to “take a deep breath; maintain perspective and this will pass.”
Pass? Mendenhall sounds like he is ready for another football season. I am a reporter and producer for KSL Newsradio. I am also a co-host on Cougar Sports Saturday. I've worked for KSL since August of 2001.