Nice story, although I'll give one clarification. It wasn't only
defensive players that were in Holmoe's office. I was there and John Beck
was there, and at least two other offensive players were there to support
Bronco. Also, we went up to his office in a very impromptu manner after
practice. Many players had already left when we decided to head up yet I know
others would had come with us had they been around / aware of what was
happening. I'm sure glad things worked out the way they did!
LaVell Edwards is such a class act.@Ellington Thanks for your
And yet Bronco has accomplished more than many others will ever accomplish.
I'm not sure Whittingham would have been able to do what Bronco has done in
terms of winning AND promoting the university's AND the church's
mission. Sometimes I wish Whittingham had chosen BYU (it is I believe, a choice
he carefully considered) and at other times, I'm thrilled to have Mendehall
at the helm of the football program. Both universities got the man
best suited for each school's culture and mission.
Ellington,Great comment. No doubt, both Utah and BYU are pleased
with who they hired, but as a Ute fan I would be interested on how the team felt
about the possibility of Whittingham coming to BYU.
Thanks for sharing this. I have a brother who played under Lavell and with Kyle
Whittingham (hope you don't mind me sharing this, bro). I remember calling
him the morning that the rumors came out that Whittingham had taken the job to
say, "looks like we got our guy". I was shocked to hear my brother (who
personally likes and respects Kyle) tell me that he was literally sick to his
stomach about the news. Good guy, but wrong coach. With the honor code and
off-the-field issues BYU was dealing with and after the show of support from the
defensive players, and knowing that Bronco acheived great defenses by
DISCIPLINE, by bro felt the Bronco was only choice at the time that could lead
the program where it needed to be.
Another year like last year and I could see Wittingham being in the hot seat
come December but a 2-0 start having already avenged last year's loss to
Utah State makes it see a bit premature to predict that outcome.Let's stick to the subject of the article - Bronco and his coaching of
the Cougars - rather than turning this into yet another rivalry article (@ChrisB
So Chris, I forgive your ignorance -- mock the firesides all you want, but BYU
fans who "get it" completely respect Bronco for immediately and fully
buying into the mission of the institution. Bronco was the guy needed after the
Crowton era -- based on utah's handling of discipline issues, Kyles MO
wouldn't cut it. BYU's unique. Outsiders thought (think?) Bronco was
crazy (clueless) when he stated that the honor code was an advantage, when he
said that he could compete at a national level with BYU-type players, when he
stresses to recruits that if they are not all in with the honor code then BYU is
not the place for them, when he says "football is 5th", when he says
that coaching football is NOT his life ambition, when he says that star ratings
of recruits mean nothing to him (and he suspended a 4-star recruit befor he even
joined the team), etc. But you know what? It works. Yeah, as Jim Rome says,
"Bronco's a different kind of cat." And I have a WORLD of respect
for the man because of it.
I also think this worked out the way it should. Whittingham did accept the job
initially and BYU was set to make the announcement. Kyle's family was split
over it with his mother and brothers wanting him to take the BYU job and his
kids wanting him to take the utah job. His late father Fred's dream was for
Kyle to be the BYU head coach and if he had still been alive I don't think
there is any question Kyle would have kept his original committment and become
the BYU head coach.But things work out the way they are supposed to
work out and Kyle reneged and stayed at utah. To me that was the right outcome
although I think Kyle would have had some success at BYU I just think Bronco was
the better guy in the long run.
@ Chris B. Dude, give it a rest.
I am pretty sure bronco has a better winning percent than whit. I could not be
happier BYU got him instead of whit. Whit does not have the discipline to run a
program at byu
@ ekute,Speaking from my perspective alone not the whole team (as
others might have had other opinions), the coaching news was all happening so
fast we weren't so certain what was an option and what was not. From my
recollection, there was a lot of respect and admiration for Coach Wittingham
(still is), yet we knew Bronco from personal, first hand interaction which is
really what drove me to go with the others to recommend him. I just remember
being so impressed with his intensity, focus, and ability to push the defense,
something we felt the whole team could benefit from (which I believe it has). It
does seem like it has worked out quite well for both schools!
Hawk, I respect Bronco a lot for the man he is as well. But having spent some
time around Kyle, I disagree with your opinion on him. He's a man with a
great deal of faith, but has to respect the separation of church and state with
the institution he's in. He heavily encourages his players to attend
institute or visit with the team chaplains, but that's not something he has
the ability to really preach in his position. I'd encourage you to read the
article Vai Sikahema wrote last year concerning Harvey Langi's decision to
serve a mission stemming from conversations with Whit without Whit overstepping
his bounds as a state school's football coach (if you knew Harvey at all
going into his college career, a mission was one of the last things on his
mind). Bottom line, I'm glad Kyle stuck with Utah, but I have no doubt (no
disrespect to your brother) that he would have been just as great at the Y.
Wishing for someone to lose their job just based on sports affiliation is a
pretty senseless and classless move. Best of luck to both coaches.
Also Hawk and Sounds right, I disagree with your outsider assessment of
Kyle's discipline based only on what you read in the news.
Coach Mendenhall is an excellent football coach, and an outstanding fit for
BYU.But, I hope he loses to the Utes in 2 weeks!
DuckhunterHighland, UTWhat did the Grandparents and aunts and
uncles want Kyle to do?Please enlighten us more, oh wise one.
The story is true, but incomplete. The night before Whit was to sign a contract
with BYU, 30 players and U donors went to his house and pleaded with him to stay
at Utah. They offered him $650,00 per and a 3 year contract, but he demanded a 6
year deal or he would go to BYU. They finally agreed and he signed with Utah.
Absent from the story is Mendenhall's final interview with a church
leader who only asked him about his personal beliefs and thoughts on integrity,
not football. It was probably more influential in retaining Bronco than any
other factor.Both universities hired the coach that was right for them.
Ellington,Thanks for responding! Do the players laugh at how crazy
some us get about the rivalry? lol.
Yeah, StGtoSLC, with all due respect to Kyle (again, great coach, great man), he
"grew up" at BYU in the era of McMahon (and others). It's a
different era. After the issues under Crowton, it was an entirely new level of
discipline and adherence required to the honor code. You must admit, it has a
bearing on everything about the BYU program. Yes, Kyle very well could have
implemented the mission of the institution throughout all aspects of the
football program. But I'm happy for both schools for getting the man that
is right for their program.
so much speculation going on in these comments!-Feel free to cite sources for
ekute... it's not just players who think that, I do and I'm sure many
others do also. I kind of feel sorry for those who put so much into these
rivalry things, it seems like such a waste of energy and time.
Thank you for a wonderful article. It has sure strengthened my testimony that
BYU is the Lord's University. In my opinion, even the angels in heaven
adjust their schedules to watch BYU sports. As long as Bronco represents the
Church's values, he will be the coach regardless of whether they win
another game. That is the way the Brothern would want it and that is what us
true BYU fans should expect. Hip, hip, hooray for Bronco.
Nice article. I've always let my BYU friends know how great of a job I
think Bronco does considering all he has to deal with. I don't disagree
with Lavell that BYU just may the toughest FBS football coaching job in the
I really believe both schools got the best coach for both schools. I don't
think either coach would have done as well as they have at the opposite schools.
Keep up the winning tradition both schools.Go Utes
Bronco was definitely the best coach BYU could have gotten. As a Utah fan, I am
glad we got Whittingham. And I bet that most BYU fans are glad that Whittingham
opted to stick with Utah. Not because they hate Whit (Although many BYU fans
do), but because Bronco really does just fit the bill for BYU-coach. I know there are other high-profile guys that BYU fans drool over (e.g., Andy
Reid), but Bronco was the best available option. And his results show. Unless I
am mistaken, he has an even better record (percentage-wise) than Lavell.
I really cannot see that the history of BYU football since the hire would have
been significantly different with Whit or with Bronco. Both are capable coaches.
Neither is completely comfortable dealing with the media, although each is
improving at that (Bronco has even let a few witicisms slip out on occasion
lately). Both are excellent defensive-game minds.Those that wish to
declare that Whit would not have implemented the discipline that Bronco did are
speaking from pure conjecture. It is entirely non-productive to try to compare
the level of spirituality between two men - only God has the ability to do that.
We can observe that both are LDS, live a LDS life style, and work well within
the parameters set by each employer. If the two reversed roles, I'm sure
both would be competent and fit into their environment very well.
I have heard this story first hand from both Kyle whittingham and Lance
Reynolds. Kyle's brothers all were hoping that he coached for byu, and his
initial thought was that he would. However, he took one last trip to the
temple, came home, and informed his family that he had decided to stay with the
Utes.As far as the BYU hire goes, Kyle was their number one
choice... After him they initially offered the job to coach Reynolds, he
accepted, and media people from byu were on their way to meet with him and film
an interview with him when Reynolds and the media people were informed that they
had changed their minds and were going with Bronco Mendenhall.The
way byu treated Reynolds throughout his career was an absolute joke. He should
have been hired instead of Crowton, he should have been hired instead of Bronco
IMO (even though Bronco has done a pretty good job).At any rate,
I'm glad that Utah got Whittingham, and I'm glad that Bronco has done
his part in helping the Utes beat the cougs year after year.
@Osgrath: I didn't see anybody pronouncing judgment on either coach's
spirituality, but perhaps rather personality or demeanor. The types of things
for which Bronco takes heat--football being the fifth priority, for instance, or
Tradition, Spirit, and Honor in place of last names--as shortcomings
nevertheless fit BYU far better than do things like trying an onside kick when
leading 43-0 because an opposing coach had the gall to guarantee a win against
him. Bronco and Kyle have markedly different personalities. As several here
have commented, I think both fit their respective schools well. There are a
great many LDS coaches that, in my opinion, would not have fit BYU as well as
Bronco does; Kyle simply happens to also be an FBS head coach, and
coincidentally that of BYU's chief rival, so the comparisons naturally
What I like about Kyle is he knows when to be churchy and when not to be
churchy.I am sure he sometimes gets churchy at church.And he knows when to leave his religion behind and coach football. I
don't want him reading the bible to his players, I want him winning
games.And by and large he does that.Couldn't be
happier with Kyle as our coach!
When comparing Mendenhall to Whittingham, I have a little more respect for what
Bronco had to do. Whittingham stepped in as coach of a national powerhouse that
had just had tremendous success under Uran Meyer. Bronco took over a giant mess,
and turned things around pretty quickly. No disrespect to Whittingham, but he
had to maintain a standard that had already been set and maintained. Bronco had
to reclaim a high standard that had been lost for years.
You can all rest assured that given the fact that Kyle was offered the BYU job
that he had already attended and passed his interview with a General Authority
of the LDS Church. Anyone questioning his spirituality or commitment to the LDS
Church do not know of what they speak.
@reasonableUTEIf what you say is true then it begs the question, why
didn't the players show the same level of support for Reynolds that they
showed for Bronco? Both were coaches on Crowton's staff. If Reynolds was
the right man to take over as HC then why did all the players show up in
Holmoe's office in support of Bronco? I am not detracting from Lance
Reynolds as a person or as a coach. He is good man, a good father, and a good
football coach. But the fact that he had the most tenure does not mean he was
entitled to be the HC after Lavell retired, or Crowton was fired. As this
article clearly states, the players, the AD, the school president, and the board
of directors (General Authorities) all thought that Bronco was the right person
for the job, and their decision has thus far been proven correct.
Ellington and ReasonableUte:Thanks for your insights. Both of these men are highly moral and spiritual men. I am grateful that
Whitt is Utah's coach just as I am sure that most BYU fans are grateful for
Bronco. For people like Chris B or Owl to try to denigrate the character of
either coach is just wasted energy.Here's to a hard fought Holy
War on the 21st!!
I'm happy for both men, and both men do a great job of teaching integrity
and hard work.
It's too bad it seems the luster has long faded. I remember when Bronco was
hired and those first few years. The team played with a drive and motivation
because it knew how bad things could get and it knew it was capable of so much
more. "Quest for perfection" wasn't just some trite phrase to show
arrogance, it was a true feeling of how good they thought they were. It seems
like the last few years the program has stagnated. Not that there isn't a
drive to be good, just not the same type of drive. Now it's "Quest just
to not be embarrassing again." Hopefully the win vs. Texas will turn things
around and they'll be able to see what they're capable of again.
Although I still think they'll never really get back to how good they were
until they get a quarterback who can actually throw. But that's another
My BYU fan neighbor asked me after Kyle's first season if I thought Utah
had hired the right coach. I told him I did, even though the Utes had struggled
a little bit that year. After 2008, those kind of questions stopped. I think
taking the job at the U has allowed Coach Witt to have more success and reach
greater heights from a football standpoint than he could have reached at BYU.
The direction of the two programs bears that out. While at the same time
staying close to family and church. I think he's grateful for how things
have turned out just as Bronco is grateful for his job.
Just keep the rivalry alive and to the limit. Good for both teams.
Should have never hired the sanctimonious uninspiring "coach" the job
should have gone to Lance "True Blue" Reynolds
@reasonableuteYou better watch out, I told the exact same factual
story about Kyle's brothers and 54iq tried to denigrate me and my knowledge
of the matter. You can now consider yourself to be completely wrong by that
particular utah "fan" despite the fact that you, like myself, personally
know the Whittingham's and also heard it directly from them. For some
reason that offends 54iq although for the life of me I cannot understand why.
I have to agree, not a BM fan or a BYU fan but I think that BM is the right man
for the job. He is a great defensive coach.Both schools got what they needed at
@The Ghost ... while I don't agree the job should have necessarily gone to
Reynolds I do wonder about Bronco. He is dedicated, etc but ... I'm sitting
her wondering how they even got him to smile for the photo that accompanies this
Just to remind people the Wyoming coach Glenn was at a pep rally when he said
they would win. Who as a coach would tell a bunch of fans at a pep rally that he
thought they would lose. As a BYU fan Kyle's response afterwards was
priceless. I agree each team got the best coach. I was hoping that Kyle would of
left uTAH for BYU. Just to see if it would of been to uTAH's demise. Phone
gate is another story.
... And thus saith all BYU fans - what we have is better than what utah has.
(Note false argument that Kyle couldn't handle it, etc.)Sorry
to be the adult in the room and ruin your party kids, but you would say that
Bronco couldn't handle coaching the almighty cougars if he was the Utah
coach and Kyle was at BYU.You were happy with crowton and you are happy
with Bronco as long as you have winning seasons. Bronco is not the ideal moral
leader that you want him to be. He is a good defensive coordinator and is the
beneficiary of the Mormon recruiting advantage that state schools don't
have.State schools have earned the recruits they get. BYU has had
some drop in their laps.
@ Duckhunter (4:56 PM)Maybe it has something to do with his moniker
(or handle) if you will. He apparently does not realize that first hand
knowledge from the source itself, is "best evidence".
@ wYo8: "Phone gate is another story"Why leave us hanging?
Pray tell us about "Phone Gate".
Loved the headline. After 8+ years of any announcements, rumors, fans comments,
denials, etc. finally the "True story" is told!! (I would have thought
anything the university said would have been "true" If there comments
were true, how can this finally be considered the true story?) Even then, from
the comments above, there were omissions and differing recollection of first
HA! Good one, wwookie. "He ... is the beneficiary of the Mormon recruiting
advantage that state schools don't have." Are you saying there are no
LDS kids at Utah or USU?? Not to mention the fact that nationwide, LDS recruits
probably make up less than 1% of all potential recruits -- leaving the VAST
majority of the 99% who would NEVER consider a Mormon school. Yes, there are a
lot of LDS kids who have grown up wanting to play for BYU, but in the big
picture, you REALLY think that's a BYU recruiting advantage to be a Mormon
Thidder,"It has sure strengthened my testimony that BYU is the
Lord's University." I am a die-hard BYU fan, but you are
dead wrong! ! ! The Lord's University is the Temple. If you think
otherwise, you need to get a life and figure out what everything is about. I
love BYU, had all my kids graduate from there, but I went to other places along
with my wife. Also, one daughter got her Master's from the U and if you
think and compare BYU to "the Lords's University", then you have
some issues that really need to be addressed.
Hawk, learn to read AND comprehend. The post says "some", and it is
proven in every BYU story posted on the DNews that BYU's top recruits are
because of the Mormon angle either directly or indirectly.By
indirectly, that is referencing situations like Heaps going there because of
religion and then convincing others to go because of him. Van noy and Harvey
Unga went there because of the Mormon church. Twist away my son, but
facts are still facts and if BYU were a state school, they wouldn't have
very good recruits.
wwookiePayson, UTSpin away, son. I thought BYU didn't
get very good recruits anyway. Hmmm...Read a lot of articles lately
about Christian non-Mormons choosing BYU because of the environment, but I guess
you can extend the same Mormon-recruit argument to them, too. If BYU
wasn't a Mormon school, it wouldn't be a school.
I'm sure that KW could have been a fine coach at BYU. BYU would not have
hired him without giving him the same charge of instilling discipline with
emphasis on the honor code.The fact that KW chose to stick with the
players he coached--being loyal to those he worked with over his alma
mater--shows something of his character. I've never heard anything about
demanding a 6 year deal, but if he did, that was in his best interest. Even
LaVell is famous for once saying, "There are two types of coaches in this
world: those that are fired, and those that are going to be." He has done
great work for the UofU.A the same time, I'm grateful BM became
the hc for BYU. He is strict and has implemented the mission of the school and
Church very well. On top of that, he does not shy away from having the NC goal
while not compromising standards to get there.
I am curious about Norm Chow and Lance Reynolds being passed up for Gary Crowton
in the first place. Wish we had some insider info on that. Lance is a class
act and he would have been much like LaVell Edwards in his style of coaching,
allowing assistants to enjoy much freedom, while playing the part of a father
figure for the players. I think he would've made a fine head coach at
BYU.I still like Bronco.
Kyle Whittingham is an excellent coach and has done well at Utah. He is more
classy than Urban Meyer and is less of a "gimmick" motivator. Meyer is
very ambitious, egotistical, and he used Utah to get what he wanted. Kyle is a
local guy with great abilities as a coach. I am a big BYU fan and I know
Whittingham would have done great at BYU if that is what he would have chose.
Bronco has really put his fingerprint on BYU. He has really taken a unique and
wonderful role in this very very unique coaching position. I think he has been
awesome. His signature leadership transcends football period. His loyalty to
the mission of the school is the best BYU has ever had. He isn't perfect
as a coach or human and neither is Kyle but I don't know how either school
couldn't be more satisfied with their coach. Probably never has been a
time when both schools had such high caliber, high quality coaches at the same
Ygrad, still spinning?There are a few students who go to BYU for the
environment or a specific academic program that aren't Mormon. But they
aren't the Y's top football recruits. What is
mind-boggling is the fact you feel threatened by having the Mormon angle work to
your advantage in recruiting Mormon athletes. Do you feel inadequate in
everything else other than your Mormonism? (E.g. We wouldn't be a school if
we weren't Mormon.)
@ wwookieI'm pretty sure you are just trolling, but just in
case your not......Your statement would make sense if most top recruits were
LDS, but they're not. Most of the top recruits in the country would never
@ duckhunterYeah, I don't know why it bugs Utah fans that he
almost chose byu. Personally, I take it as validation (I'm a mormon
cheering for Utah) that Kyle went to the temple and came back a Ute for life.
It proves that God doesn't have a favorite football team as a few byu fans
seem to believe.
@reasonableUTEWe all have our inferiority complexes I suppose, but I
wasn't trying to get a dig in at all, just stated some facts I personally
know. His brothers and mother absolutely wanted him to take the BYU job, they
are all BYU alumni, grew up in Provo, played there, their dad coached and played
there, it was a dream of his for that to happen, none of them had any real
connection to Utah other than Kyle had coached there as an assistant for the
previous 10 years, that is not a strong connection. But now that Kyle made his
choice they are all 100% behind him and Utah and that is just the way it is but
what occured is what occured and that is just the way it is as well.
REASONABLEute,Afraid to capitalize BYU during your little rant?
To all the posters claiming that Kyle Whittingham doesn't have the
discipline to coach at BYU, please give it a rest. Kyle is a great coach. He
would have had success at BYU just like Bronco. All one has to do is look at
Utah's defenses over the years to realize that Kyle is very disciplined and
that it rolled off on his defensive units.Bronco has been good for
BYU. I will say however, that stating that Football is #5 has given me heartburn
on multiple occasions. Players really like Bronco. The way he handled the
recruitment of Kyle Van Noy is a great demonstration of his commitment to the
young men in his program.Both coaches have proven to be very
successful and they both have very good programs. We can be proud to have them
coaching in our state.
Whittingham is a good coach. He's a good fit at Utah. But I will say this.
Even though I am a lifetime BYU fan (and have always loved to beat the Utes) I
respected the McBride-led Utes more than the Whittingham-led Utes. Back in the
day, the teams really really wanted to beat each other, but the level of mutual
respect seemed higher than it is now. Whittingham's comments about *would
BYU have played if we had gone into overtime and had to play on Sunday?* were
not at the same level of class as McBride always showed.
Nobody will ever confuse me with a ute fan. That's no secret. But......A teenage boy had leukemia and he was a ute fan. I made the call to
Kyle's assistant and it took only minutes for the response, "Pick me
up." That day we went to Primary Children's Hospital and Kyle was a
class act, everything one could hope for. And that wasn't enough. He
actually followed up, on his own. My own son was inactive in Church
during his teen years. Kyle took the time to visit with him at home as part of
his Church assignment to meet with all of the less active boys in the Stake. Everything I have ever seen from Kyle Whittingham and from his family
makes me believe that he could have been a great head coach at BYU. Nonetheless,
the stars aligned a different way and both schools got the best man for the job.
I will never be a ute fan, but I will always admire Kyle Whittingham
and his family.
I didn't capitalize byu simply because i don't feel the need, and
sometimes my comments get blocked because I put things in all caps.@duckhunterI had no problem with your comments, any of them. I
was simply remarking that as a utah fan, I have no problem that he initially was
headed to byu, until he went to the temple and came back a ute for life. The
main reason I don't cheer for byu is because I was tired of certain byu
fans (few and far between) that seem to think byu is the lord's university.