Is Bronco Mendenhall a perfect fit for the Stanford job?

Another position as head coach of college football was opened in the West when Stanford’s David Shaw resigned after the Cardinal’s 35-26 loss to BYU on Saturday night.

Could a BYU tie be his replacement?

A look at the lists of early coaching candidates for the job suggests that it is possible.

Former BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall, who retired last year after six years in Virginia, appeared on multiple lists of potential substitutes for Shaw in the hours after his retirement.

Is Bronco Mendenhall a potential candidate for the Stanford job?

Here’s an example of why these national experts believe Mendenhall could be the solution at Stanford.

By Dennis Dodd, CBS Sports: “Judging by the reports, Bronco is interested in getting back in the game. He was reportedly interviewing in Colorado after resigning in Virginia last December. Mendenhall won 99 games at BYU and ushered the program into its era of independence. In Virginia, he stabilized the program, winning at least eight times twice in six seasons. He is a culture and program builder; In other words, it fits Stanford almost perfectly.”

By Steven Lassan, Athlon Sports: “Mendenhall stepped down as Virginia’s head coach after the 21 season, but the Utah native has been mentioned for openings this year, likely indicating he’s ready to return to the sidelines. Mendenhall went 8-17 in his first two years with the Cavaliers but went on to go 28-21 in the last four seasons in charge with a Coastal Division title. Mendenhall also went 99-43 at BYU from 2005-15. He’s 135-81 overall as a head coach at the FBS level.”

By Chris Vannini, The Athletic: “Former Virginia and BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall has experience winning at venues with high or unique standards. He is 135-81 as a head coach, including 34-28 in his last five years at UVa. He’s a defensive coach by trade, though Virginia had one of the most explosive passing offenses in the country in his final years there. Mendenhall, 56, left Virginia alone last year but made sure it wasn’t a resignation. He was there for the Colorado job.”

By Adam Rittenberg, ESPN: “He’s not afraid to take on a difficult program at an academically rigorous school. Mendenhall left a comfortable position at BYU for Virginia, which was coming off four consecutive losses. He led the Cavaliers to the ACC title game in Year 4, losing just once in the regular season before surprisingly retiring last year. The 56-year-old Mendenhall appears set to return to the sidelines and was considered for Colorado’s coaching vacancy this year. He is 135-81 on the FBS and has Pac-12 roots as a former Oregon State player and defensive coordinator.

Are there other potential candidates for the Stanford job from Utah?

A few other names with Utah connections appeared on those Stanford coaching candidate lists, including former Utah offensive coordinator Troy Taylor (now Sacramento State coach), Weber State coach Jay Hill, and former Utah State defensive coordinator Dave Aranda (now coach of Baylor).

“Taylor, a West Coast fixture, has announced he’s ready to take the plunge to a Power Five job. His name has been added to the Colorado search,” Dodd wrote of Taylor. “When Bill Musgraves was fired as Cal’s offensive coordinator, Taylor’s name immediately popped up at his alma mater. In two seasons with Taylor as Utah offensive coordinator (2017-18), the Utes went 16-11 and advanced to the 2018 Pac-12 championship game.

“Elsewhere at FCS, Weber State is head coach Jay Hill is 68-38 in nine seasons, including a 10-2 record this year,” Vannini wrote of Hill. “He’s adopted a 2-10 program and is probably on his way to a fifth top 10 finish in six years. Prior to Weber State, Hill spent 13 years as an assistant in Utah.”

“Aranda, 46, has shown his ability to coach in a variety of settings, but his distinctly cerebral approach would come into its own in a program like Stanford,” Rittenberg wrote of Aranda. “He also doesn’t mind tackling challenges like NIL and the portal. Much has Aranda stuck in Waco, Texas, but Stanford should pursue him anyway.”

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