Since 1972, BYU football has only had three head coaches in that span. After Friday afternoon’s shocking announcement that Bronco Mendenhall would be leaving BYU to become the head coach at Virginia, the Cougars will now begin the national search to hire their fourth headman in the last 43 years, and the 14th in program history.
BYU is a unique job, a job that requires the head coach to be an active member of the Church of Latter-Day Saints (LDS/Mormon). That right there limits the pool of candidates that BYU could pick from significantly. There are a few outliers in the LDS coaching pool like Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid, but Reid isn’t coming through BYU’s door to lead his alma mater.
On top of the LDS member requirement, BYU doesn’t have the money to give a coach $3.25 million a year like Mendenhall will be receiving in Charlottesville. People close to BYU’s program believe that the $3.25 million salary Mendenhall will receive at Virginia is double what Bronco was making per year with the Cougars.
Oh, don’t forget, BYU is currently a football independent with no Power 5 conference likely calling anytime soon. The lack of stability from independence was something that concerned Mendenhall and it could be something that turns away potential candidates.
The BYU job is a tough one, arguably the toughest one in major college football. Some Power 5 coaches would already agree with that sentiment.
Who is ready to tackle this job? Who are the names? Here are six coaches that people need to keep an eye on as potential replacements for Bronco Mendenhall at BYU.
6 Coaching Candidates to Replace Bronco Mendenhall at BYU
Ken Niumatalolo, head coach, Navy
Niumatalolo has had tremendous success as the head coach at Navy. Since taking over the job in 2007, Niumatalolo has posted a record of 66-37. This season has arguably been Niumatalolo’s best with the Midshipmen leading them to a 9-2 record thus far. The question with Niumatalolo is what offense would he run? BYU is known for their strong history of passing the football; Niumatalolo however, is well versed in running the triple option, even dating back to his playing days at one of BYU’s old WAC rivals, Hawaii (1987-1989). Niumatalolo is also familiar with running an independent program. Prior to this season’s move to the American Athletic Conference, the Midshipmen navigated the uncertain waters of football independence.