PROVO, Utah - News of Coach Bronco Mendenhall's departure from the BYU football team came as a shock to many, including legendary BYU Coach LaVell Edwards.
"I was surprised," Coach Edwards said. "I think a lot of people were surprised because there had been no rumors. Normally, there are rumors."
After Edwards stepped down as Head Coach of the BYU football team in 2000, Gary Crowton stepped in briefly to coach BYU for four seasons before Bronco Mendenhall took over. In his ten-plus seasons at BYU, Mendenhall has led the Cougars to a bowl game every season.
"I think he's done a nice job," Coach Edwards said of Mendenhall. "Consistently winning bowl games, having success."
The decision may have come as surprise, but Edwards says the timing makes sense. This time of the year is vital for recruiting and keeping commits for the football program. The next decision will be vital for the Cougars as they go in search of their next head coach.
"BYU will always be BYU. They'll move forward and do good things. I'm not worried about that," Edwards affirmed.
Coach Edwards understands the tough decision Bronco Mendenhall had to make. The legendary coach left BYU back in 2000, though it wasn't to take a head coaching job elsewhere. Still, echoing Coach Mendenhall's statements Friday afternoon, he says the the program and the coach need to move forward and improve.
"He'd been here for a certain period of time. He did well, but was looking for another challenge."