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College football: Bronco Mendenhall to step down as Virginia's head coach

Dec. 2 (UPI) -- Virginia head football coach Bronco Mendenhall announced Thursday he is stepping down from his position after the Cavaliers' upcoming bowl game.

The 55-year-old Mendenhall told reporters it was solely his decision to leave the program.

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"I would love to say there's been this buildup and a long amount of epiphanies and thought, but clearly this week there was a sense of clarity to me that I needed to step back from college football and reassess, renew, reframe and reinvent -- with my wife as a partner -- our future and the next chapter of our lives," he said.

"I was requested to stay by our athletic director. I was requested to stay by our president. It's my decision only."

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Mendenhall said he began thinking about his future Sunday and quickly decided that he needed to take a step back after 31 straight years in coaching, both as a head coach and an assistant. He reiterated multiple times that his decision isn't a retirement announcement.

"I don't know what's next. But if I didn't think the decision was necessary to add more value, then I wouldn't have done it," Mendenhall said. "So this isn't to break and pause and then become irrelevant. This is actually to break and pause to then become, hopefully, more impactful.

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"So I'm excited about that. What is it going to look like? I don't know. There's no remorse. There's emotion."

Virginia has posted a 36-38 record in Mendenhall's six seasons at the school, including a 2019 ACC Coastal Division title and the team's first New Year's Six appearance in the Orange Bowl.

The Cavaliers ended the 2021 season with a 6-6 record, marking the fifth consecutive year that Virginia is eligible for a bowl game.

Before joining Virginia, Mendenhall spent 11 seasons at BYU, going 99-43 with 11 bowl appearances.

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In 17 years as a head coach, Mendenhall has compiled a 135-81 record, ranking eighth among current Football Bowl Subdivision head coaches in winning percentage (.625).

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