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PROVO — BYU head football coach Bronco Mendenhall has been named the new head coach at the University of Virginia, the Cavaliers announced Friday afternoon.
Mendenhall took the Cougars to a 99-42 record as head coach for the past 11 years, including this season's 9-3 finish that will end in the Las Vegas Bowl on Dec. 19. The former Snow College and Oregon State linebacker will be introduced in Charlottesville, Virginia at a press conference Monday.
"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 in a statement from UVA. "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.
"BYU has played the pivotal role in my professional and personal life and I will be forever indebted to the outstanding young men and exceptional people I have had the opportunity to work with at BYU. My success at BYU was possible because these great people chose the phenomenal, unique and faith-based experience available at BYU."
Mendenhall also responded with a thank you to BYU fans on Twitter.
Thanks and gratitude to BYU, my players and Cougar Nation. You have changed my life!— Bronco Mendenhall (@Bronco_BYU) December 4, 2015
Mendenhall's six bowl wins over the past decade rank second in the nation to Florida State over the same time frame.
"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," Virginia athletic director Chris Littlepage said in a statement. "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."
A graduate of American Fork High School and Oregon State, Mendenhall and the Cavaliers reached a five-year deal worth $3.25 million annually.
The Cavaliers finished 4-8 in 2015, the final season of former coach Mike London, who went 27-46 in six years in Charlottesville, Virginia.
"I am extremely grateful for the opportunity I've had to work with Bronco as our head football coach," BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe said in a statement. "He has worked tirelessly on behalf of our student-athletes to give them the best possible collegiate experience, on and off the field. Bronco has been loyal through and through to BYU. I'm grateful for everything he's done for the football program.
"He has a strong desire to complete this season and will coach our team at the Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl. We wish Bronco, Holly and their family the very best as they move on to this new opportunity."
BYU will visit Virginia in 2019, and hosts the Cavs in 2023.
BYU begins a national search for its next head coach immediately. Holmoe confirmed Friday evening that BYU's head coach must be an active member of the LDS faith, narrowing the field enough to where the school will not hire a search committee.
Holmoe will make the official hire, but he has not set a timetable on the program's decision.
Current and former BYU athletes commented immediately on Twitter.
Bronco. Thank you for all you have done for BYU! Good luck and God speed! pic.twitter.com/itkZ6HxMzJ— Chad Lewis (@18clew89) December 4, 2015
Always be my coach, mentor & friend. Let's get one more win together. Arohanui coach. pic.twitter.com/RwlKFc5TH1— Jonny Linehan (@jlinehan9) December 4, 2015
Shocked that Bronco is leaving. All good things must come to an end. Thank you @Bronco_BYU for your decade of service to my alma mater!— Jonathan Tavernari (@For3JT) December 4, 2015
WE LOVE COACH MENDENHALL— Mitch Mathews (@mitchmathews10) December 4, 2015
Congratulations Bronco! UVA is a class institution!! You have inspired many of us. https://t.co/ddJ9YymRmG— Danny Ainge (@danielrainge) December 4, 2015
Contributing: Rod Zundel, Jeremiah Jensen, Andrew Adams