Bronco, Andersen and staying home

Sometimes they actually stay.

Sports fans have become accustomed to coaches insisting they’re happy where they are, then leaving in the next breath, i.e. Urban Meyer. It’s a law of nature. But it looks like Utah State’s Gary Andersen and BYU’s Bronco Mendenhall really are sticking around for now.

Gary Andersen

Andersen took his name out of contention for any job last week when he announced he was staying at USU. Mendenhall told reporters on Wednesday that, despite speculation to the contrary, he wasn’t interested in the Colorado job and was never contacted. Those two seem in the minority to me. There’s a reason for that. As former Utah coach Jim Fassel used to say, there are only two types of coaches: those that have been fired and those waiting to be fired.

So they tend to cash in while they can.

But occasionally they become lifers, like LaVell Edwards. In the 1980s, Utah talked with Cal State Fullerton coach Gene Murphy. My sources said the Utes even offered him the job. But he stayed right there with the Titans from 1980 until Fullerton dropped football in 1992. After going 11-1 in 1984 he told the Los Angeles Times: “There’s all this talk about me going here or there, but I’ll tell you one thing. I wouldn’t be going anywhere except up to Minnesota to become a fishing guide if it wasn’t for these kids.”

Meaning his players.

Most coaches say stuff like that, but Murphy meant it. He stayed where he was. That was a big deal with Andersen and Mendenhall this year, too.

With salaries bigger and security smaller, it’s hard to blame most coaches when they move on. But in the case of Murphy – whose name came up often over the years – he just liked where he was. “I guess I’m just a Cal State Fullerton kind of guy,” he once said.

At least for now, Mendenhall and Andersen must be feeling much the same about where they are.

Sometimes, if you’re lucky, you find where you belong.


  1. Blue Chelan56

    Bronco, with help from his AD,needs to make some minor changes in Offensive Staff and Scheme for next season.

  2. Gsauce

    They need to let Doman go so he can get more experience at a more appropriate level. There are plenty of great offensive coordinators that would love to take the job that have adequate experience. BYU’s offense has potential to be great in the future but they need someone that can call the right plays.

  3. Mark

    They might tweak things a little, but I think that if anything they need to keep the coaches so that they can apply what they learned this year and get better. Thing is it is hard to win football games and BYU, despite their record didn’t do too badly. The hallmark of those who fail is chronic change. If BYU just keeps improving their team they should be very good next year.

  4. Brien Smith

    I wish Bronco had the will to use all the resources at his disposal, instead of insisting on playing his favorites at the expense of the team, fans and the school. Other coaches have exploited this weakness, not to mention the less-than-favorable experiment of using Brandon Doman as Offensive Coordinator. Tom Holmoe needs to initiate a conversation with Andy Reid, a “real” head coach, and move BYU out of the Bronco doldrums.

    • Mike Brame

      So many things wrong with this comment. Really?? You honestly believe it is as simple as Bronco playing his pet favorites, at the expense of his team, school and fans? And the so-called “Bronco doldrums”, you do realize don’t you that the next BYU coach is far, far less likely to be as successful as Bronco has been.

  5. Mickey Plum

    Bronco is never going to be an offensive genius, so he will never be able to mentor Doman or anyone else into being one. LaVell was not an offensive genius either. But he new that passing would set up the run, and he hired a number of offensive coordinators that were or bordered on being genius once LaVell’s doctrine was accepted. BYU will always find it hard to a have a plethora of 5, 4 or even 3 star athletes, it’s just a fact. Because Riley would never be a deep threat or consistently accurate or ever be able to stretch the field, he never should have seen a single down as a QB. It’s nice to have legs, but the first is to be able to throw the ball like a 5 star QB…oh ya, we did have one of those!

  6. SoUTCougar

    Interesting article, given that Bronco himself has often said he won’t be a lifer. Its obvious that almost every Cougar wants Ty Detmer. If Bronco does not intend to be a lifer, its time to Bring Detmer on board and get going with the future.

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