WATCH: Bronco Mendenhall to leave Virginia football

Mendenhall talked with the media for about 40 minutes after the announcement

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – After six seasons, Bronco Mendenhall is set to leave the University of Virginia.

The University of Virginia made the announcement on Thursday that the head football coach would be leaving after the team’s upcoming expected bowl game.

While at UVA, he led the Cavaliers to a 36-38 record including a 6-6 record this season. This marks the fifth consecutive season UVA is bowl eligible during his tenure.

“It has been a privilege to have Bronco Mendenhall direct the Virginia football team over the past six seasons,” said Virginia athletics director Carla Williams. “He has done an exceptional job of not just transforming the program, but elevating the expectations for the program. He has established the necessary foundation to propel our football team upward. He is more than a football coach and the impact he has had on these young men will be a positive influence for the rest of their lives.”

Read more below from The Associated Press’ Ralph Russo

Virginia coach Bronco Mendenhall is stepping down after the Cavaliers play their bowl game, abruptly ending his tenure at the school after six seasons.

The surprising announcement came in a news release Thursday. In a hastily organized conference call with reporters, Mendenhall said the decision was his alone and that both athletic director Carla Williams and university president Jim Ryan asked him to stay.

“It’s just a chance after 31 years straight to step back, and renew and recover,” the 55-year-old Mendenhall said, adding he did not view this as permanently leaving coaching.

“Holly, my wife, is a little shocked, too,” he said.

Mendenhall said he told his staff at 4:45 p.m. EST and his team at 5 p.m. before getting on the call with reporters at 5:30 p.m.

The team’s reaction?

“They had similar reactions, tears, shock, sadness, disbelief, yeah, and it’s going to take time to process,” he said.

Mendenhall went 36-38 at Virginia, leading the Cavaliers to five straight bowl appearances and their only Atlantic Coast Conference title game appearance two years ago. Virginia also snapped a 15-game losing streak against rival Virginia Tech in 2019.

The Cavaliers finished this season 6-6 after losing to Virginia Tech last Saturday.

The Hokies played that game with an interim coach and introduced their new head coach, former Penn State defensive coordinator Brent Pry, earlier Thursday.

Mendenhall came to Virginia after 11 seasons as head coach at BYU. That, too, was a surprising move at the time.

The Utah native was 99-43 with the Cougars.

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