#BYU fans: Has Bronco Mendenhall or Dave Rose Peaked?

It’s a serious question, not a facetious one. As I’ve looked at past and present seasons for both BYU basketball and football, I asked myself if these coaches have lived past their usefulness to a point.

Bronco Mendenhall:

byu bronco mendenhall

  • Background:

Assistant defensive coach (defensive backs, defensive line or defensive coordinator) at Oregon State, Snow College, Northern Arizona, Louisiana Tech and New Mexico (was an assistant head coach at UNM). He got his defensive philosophy from the legendary coach Rocky Long at New Mexico and coached NFL linebacker Brian Urlacher there. BYU is his first head coaching gig, which he took in 2005.

  • Body of work:

Two-time Mountain West regular season champion (2006, 2007) and the Mountain West Conference Coach of the Year in 2006. He has made 7 straight bowl games at BYU with a 5-2 record. BYU has made the Las Vegas Bowl five times (3-2 record), New Mexico Bowl (1-0) and Poinsettia Bowl (1-0).

  • Overall record at BYU: 81-33 (that’s a 0.7105 winning percentage; that’s a great record)
  • Notable NFL draft picks: TE Dennis Pitta, QB John Beck, WR Austin Collie

Dave Rose:

byu dave rose

  • Background:

Rose played college basketball in his younger years, even being a co-captain of the “Phi Slama Jama” Houston Cougars team with Clyde Drexler and Hakeem Olajuwon in the 1980s. He coached at Millard and Pine View high schools, then Dixie State as an assistant then a head coach. After Dixie State, he became an assistant at BYU and took the head coaching gig in 2005. He is a survivor of pancreatic cancer, which has a small chance of survival to start with.

  • Body of work:

Rose’s BYU Cougars won the Mountain West Conference (MWC) regular season titles 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2011 before leaving for the West Coast Conference (WCC). Rose was also the Mountain West Coach of the Year 3 times in 2006, 2007 and 2011.

BYU has made March Madness in 6 of Rose’s 8 years as head coach, making the Sweet Sixteen in 2010-2011 with 4 first-round exits. They made the NIT the 2 years that they did not qualify for March Madness, including last season’s NIT semifinals loss.

Rose is 22-10 in WCC conference play, finishing in 3rd both of their first 2 seasons. In the MWC, Rose had a 78-36 record and always finished top 2 in the conference.

  • Overall record at BYU: 209-66 (0.76 winning percentage overall)
  • Notable NBA draft pick: Jimmer Fredette, 1st round pick, 10th overall to the Sacramento Kings.

Everyone knows how I’ve been critical of BYU athletics because of how the fan bases seems to overhype their expectations and be severely disappointed when losses pile on. But, every fan base is like that. You should see the Maryland Terrapins fans regarding their football coach Randy Edsall.

But, if I were to grade these coaches, they would be a solid B+. They were able to transition both programs to a football independent or a West Coast Conference member. They recruited well, considering the BYU Honor Code and academic standards. Plus, their contract with ESPN was a coup by any standards since no school can easily pull off that kind of monumental deal. You bet that schools like Utah, Utah State or even major conference schools would envy this exclusive deal.

I don’t know if BYU could get coaches that are consistent like Mendenhall or Rose. I mean, we did see what happened during the Gary Crowton years (shudder).

What do you think? Have Rose and Mendenhall peaked? Could someone take BYU to the top? Or should BYU fans be happy with these coaches?


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About Spencer Irvine

Fun loving, D.C. area sports fan, which means I'm frustrated and still can't get a grip on what a win truly means (or a championship for that matter).

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