Bronco Mendenhall Staff Bio | Head Football Coach

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Bronco Mendenhall


  • Head football coach

Years at BYU


Years Overall


Coaching Experience

Brigham Young (2003-present)

  • Head coach (2005-present)
  • Defensive Coordinator (2003-04)

New Mexico (1998-2002)

  • Assistant Head Coach (2002)
  • Defensive Coordinator; Secondary (1998-2002)

Louisiana Tech (1997)

  • Secondary

Oregon State (1995-96)

  • Defensive Coordinator; Secondary (1996)
  • Defensive Line (1995)

Northern Arizona (1993-94)

  • Co-Defensive Coordinator; Secondary (1994)
  • Secondary (1993)

Snow College (1991-92)

  • Defensive Coordinator; Secondary

Oregon State (1989-90)

  • Graduate Assistant; Defensive Line

Career Highlights

  • Guided BYU to eight straight bowl invitations
  • Won two outright conference championships and led the way into BYU football independence
  • Coached BYU to four consecutive bowl wins (2009-12), and has coached the Cougars to bowl wins against Oregon, UCLA, Oregon State, UTEP and Tulsa
  • Achieved a 39-9 record in the Mountain West Conference

Playing Career

  • Two-year starter at Oregon State (1986-87)
  • Played safety and linebacker; Team Captain ('87)
  • Leo Gribkoff Memorial Award ('87) given to the most inspirational player
  • Played at Snow College JC (1984-85) and was a Gridwire All-American
  • Team Captain
  • NJCAA National Champions (11-0)
  • Played at American Fork H.S. (1980-83)


  • American Fork High School (1984)
  • Oregon State (1988; B.S., Phys. Ed.)
  • Oregon State (1990; Master's of Education, Exercise Physiology)


Alpine, Utah


  • Married to Holly Johnston of Missoula, Mont.
  • Has three sons
  • Older brother, Mat, played football at BYU from 1975-79, before spending four years in the NFL with the Washington Redskins
  • Another brother, Marty, was a former Mr. Utah bodybuilder
  • Father, Paul, was a defensive end at BYU from 1953-54
Bronco Mendenhall

In his eight seasons as the head coach at Brigham Young University, Bronco Mendenhall has restored tradition to the Cougars as one of the nation’s top teams. Taking over a BYU program in 2005 that was coming off three losing seasons, Mendenhall has guided his teams to eight straight bowl invitations, two outright conference championships and regular national top-25 rankings. The Cougars finished the 2012 regular season 8-5, a program-record fourth consecutive bowl victory, won four of their last five games and had the No. 3 ranked total defense in the nation.

Under his leadership, BYU has earned a 74-29 (.718) record to date to rank No. 12 in total wins among all teams in the nation since 2005. The Cougars have received eight straight bowl invitations for the first time since a string of 17 consecutive bowls invitations from 1978 through 1994. Mendenhall is the only coach in BYU football history that will take his first eight teams to a bowl game. He also has more wins in his first 100 contests at BYU than Hall of Fame coach LaVell Edwards.

Mendenhall also served as the team’s defensive coordinator for the last two seasons and part of 2010. He will continue to be heavily involved with the defense and call defensive plays in 2013. In 2012, the Cougars put one of the greatest defenses on the field in school history, allowing just 266.1 yards and 14.0 points per game. Ranked No. 3 in total defense and No. 3 in scoring defense to finish the regular season, the Mendenhall-coached unit held its first six opponents under 300 total yards (part of a streak of 12-straight dating back to 2011) and kept opposing offenses without a touchdown six times during the year. BYU has finished the last three seasons ranked in the top 25 in total defense and has given up less than 19 points per contest over that span.

Mendenhall has led BYU to bowl wins in six of the last seven seasons to become the first Cougar teams to ever win six bowls in a seven-year span and win four in a row. Nationally, BYU is one of only seven programs to win five bowl games in the last six seasons. The Cougars have won 10 or more games in five of Mendenhall’s eight seasons overall.

BYU’s success under Mendenhall is also evident in the national rankings and NCAA statistics. BYU has finished ranked in the top 25 in the various national statistical categories 127 times in his eight years (58 defense, 47 offense, 20 special teams, 2 misc.). The Cougars have achieved 78 top-15 statistical rankings, 58 top-10 rankings and 27 top-5 rankings in that span. The Cougars have also been ranked in the top-25 polls during seven of the past seasons and finished ranked No. 12 following the 2009 season -- the program’s highest final ranking since finishing No. 5 in 1996.

Another hallmark of Mendenhall’s program has been the emphasis on balance and priorities in the many other facets of life outside of football. Reflecting that emphasis, BYU consistently received the most academic all-conference honorees each season as a conference member and is tied for third nationally for Academic All-America recipients over Mendenhall’s first eight seasons at the helm. Seven Cougar student-athletes have been named ESPN Academic All-Americans in that span. Among all FBS schools only Penn State and Nebraska have had more during that period.

Before going independent in 2011, BYU was consistently a top MWC contender under Mendenhall. BYU achieved a 39-9 (.813) conference record over the prior six years to help the Cougars complete their 12-year tenure in the MWC with 64 conference wins -- the most of any MWC school in the span. Mendenhall has also helped the Cougars bring bowl wins over Oregon, UCLA, Oregon State, UTEP and Tulsa

Name, Current School FBS Div. I Years FBS Div. I Record Win %
Winning Percentage Among Active FBS Coaches (at least 5 years FBS Div. I exp.)
1. Chris Petersen, Boise State 7 84-8 .913
2. Urban Meyer, Ohio State 11 116-23 .835
3. Bob Stoops, Oklahoma 14 149-37 .801
4. Larry Coker, Texas-San Antionio 7 68-19 .782
5. Gary Patterson, TCU 13 116-36 .763
6. Mark Richt, Georgia 12 118-40 .747
7. Bobby Petrino, Western Kentucky 8 75-26 .743
8. Nick Saban, Alabama 17 159-55-1 .740
19. Bret Bielema, Arkansas 7 68-24 .739
10. Les Miles, LSU 22 113-42 .729
11. Steve Spurrier, South Carolina 23 208-77-2 .725
12. Bronco Mendenhall, BYU 8 74-29 .718
13. Brian Kelly, Notre Dame 9 81-33 .711
14. Bo Pelini, Nebraska 5 49-20 .710
15. Kevin Sumlin, Texas A&M 5 46-19 .708

In the first year of independence, BYU posted yet another 10-win season, capped off by another comeback bowl victory over Tulsa in the Armed Forces Bowl. Riley Nelson took over the starting quarterback duties midway through the season and led BYU to a 6-1 record down the stretch. The Cougar defense also posted the No. 13 ranked defense.

In 2010, BYU's 52-24 New Mexico Bowl victory highlighted the progress and momentum the relatively young team gained over the course of the season as several freshmen played big roles in the season-ending victory. True freshman quarterback Jake Heaps became the first frosh signal caller in BYU history to start in a bowl, and he completed 25-of-34 passes for 264 yards and four touchdowns to be named New Mexico Bowl Offensive MVP. During the game, Heaps broke Heisman Trophy winner Ty Detmer's BYU record for freshman touchdown throws, finishing with 15 on the year to Detmer's 13. Redshirt freshman wide receiver Cody Hoffman caught three touchdowns on eight receptions for 137 yards in the bowl win, while true freshman running back Joshua Quezada ran for 101 yards on 15 carries and one touchdown.

While recording an 11-2 record and 7-1 league mark in 2009, Mendenhall's team went 3-1 against ranked opponents, including a 14-13 season-opening win over No. 3 Oklahoma and a 44-20 season-finale Maaco Bowl Las Vegas victory over No. 16 Oregon State. BYU finished No. 12 in the final 2009 polls to earn the distinction of being one of only six programs nationally to be ranked in both final polls for four straight seasons.

In 2008, BYU finished 10-3 overall and 6-2 in the MWC to achieve three straight 10-win seasons and become the first teams in Cougar history to go unbeaten at home over three consecutive seasons. Mendenhall coached the Cougars to back-to-back 11-2 seasons in 2006 and 2007, while claiming consecutive outright MWC titles with a combined record of 16-0 against league opponents.

Following the 2006 season, Mendenhall was named the American Football Coaches Association Region IV Coach of the Year. In addition, the Football Writers Association of America named Mendenhall one of nine finalists for the prestigious Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award. On November 17, 2007, Mendenhall led the Cougars to a 35-10 victory over Wyoming to record his 25th career win. With the victory, Mendenhall became the only coach in BYU football history to win 25 games in his first 35 attempts.

In his first year in 2005 after taking over a program coming off three losing seasons, Mendenhall led BYU to a 6-5 regular-season record and earned an invitation to the Maaco Bowl Las Vegas -- the team's first postseason bowl appearance in three seasons. The Cougars finished tied for second in the MWC with a 5-3 league ledger.

BYU recruits have earned Freshman All-America recognition each of Mendenhalls seven seasons as the Cougars continue to demonstrate through their recruiting efforts how they are strengthening the program with talented players and quality individuals.

Mendenhall began his coaching career as a graduate assistant in 1989 at his alma mater, Oregon State. After earning his master's degree in 1990, he moved to Snow College in Ephraim, Utah, where he served as the secondary coach and defensive coordinator from 1991-92 under current BYU assistant coach Paul Tidwell. Following two seasons with the Badgers, Mendenhall became the secondary coach at Northern Arizona, where the Lumberjacks boasted the top-ranked defense in the Big Sky Conference. He was elevated to co-defensive coordinator for the 1994 season.

In 1995, Mendenhall returned to Oregon State to become the defensive line coach under then defensive coordinator Rocky Long. When Long left to become the defensive coordinator at UCLA, Mendenhall was promoted to defensive coordinator for the 1996 season. At just 29 years of age, Mendenhall was the youngest defensive coordinator in Pac-10 history.

In 1997, Mendenhall became the secondary coach at Louisiana Tech where he helped the Bulldogs to a remarkable 9-2 record as his defensive unit was credited with 17 interceptions, allowing just 15 touchdowns on the season.

In 1998, Mendenhall moved to Albuquerque, N.M., to become the defensive coordinator and secondary coach at the University of New Mexico. Over the next five seasons, the Lobos improved from just three wins in 1998 to seven wins and an invitation to the Las Vegas Bowl in 2002. In the Lobos' 27-13 loss against UCLA in the Las Vegas Bowl, the Mendenhall-led defense held the Bruins to a season-low 167 yards.

Under Mendenhall, the Lobos led the Mountain West Conference in rushing defense for three straight seasons. In 2001, New Mexico gave up just 87.4 yards per game over the season. In his final season in Albuquerque, Mendenhall led the Lobos to a top ranking against league opponents in total defense, allowing just 316.4 yards per game. The Lobos also led the MWC in sacks in the 2000 and 2002 season, totaling 46 and 38, respectively.

At New Mexico, Mendenhall played a valuable role in the development of the 1999 Mountain West Player of the Year, Consensus All-American and first-round NFL Draft pick Brian Urlacher. The ninth overall selection in the 2000 NFL Draft, Urlacher was voted the NFL's Defensive Rookie of the Year and was a Pro Bowl selection. Urlacher was one of two rookies to play all 16 games, starting at middle linebacker the final 14 games to establish a team record for starts at the position by a rookie. He shattered Bears rookie records with 165 total tackles and eight sacks, making him the second Chicago first-year player to lead the team in tackles. Urlacher finished his collegiate career ranked third on New Mexico's all-time list with 442 tackles.

Head Coaching Ledger
2005 BYU 6-6 5-3/T 2nd MWC Las Vegas L, 35-28 vs. Cal
2006 BYU 11-2 8-0/1st MWC Las Vegas W, 38-8 vs. Oregon
2007 BYU 11-2 8-0/1st MWC Las Vegas W, 17-16 vs. UCLA
2008 BYU 10-3 6-2/3rd MWC Las Vegas L, 31-21 vs. Arizona
2009 BYU 11-2 7-1/2nd MWC Las Vegas W, 44-20 vs. Oregon State
2010 BYU 7-6 5-3/3rd MWC New Mexico W, 52-24 vs. UTEP
2011 BYU 10-3 Independent Armed Forces W, 24-21 vs. Tulsa
2012 BYU 8-5 Independent Poinsettia W, 23-6, SDSU
TOTAL BYU 74-29 (.718)

MWC: 39-9 (.813)
Indy: 18-8 (.692)

Las Vegas, New Mexico,
Armed Forces, Poinsettia
6-2 (.750)