ACC Football: Virginia and Syracuse Welcome New Coaches

Mendenhall Introduced in Charlottesville

The announcement came over the weekend that UVA had hired BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall to run the Cavalier football program. He brings a track record of success and consistency to a program that has lacked both for some time.

He brings a toughness and resolve that should be enough in and of itself to vastly improve the program immediately. With capable coaching, the ‘Hoos were a bowl-bound squad this season instead of a four-win club. The talent is already there and this could be one of those situations where a culture change is all that’s needed to jumpstart a moribund program.

There have been concerns about a coach coming in from the western U.S. without connections to the high schools and coaches of the mid-atlantic region, but those fears strike me as overblown. High school recruiting is a national enterprise now and there’s less of an emphasis on relationships forged over many years.

It helps to know the territory a bit, but it’s not rocket science to know recruiting in Virginia means winning in the Tidewater area above all. A few local assistant coaches can further alleviate any issues in other parts of the state and region.

Syracuse Continues the ACC-MAC Coaching Connection

Once again, the head coach from Bowling Green is headed to work in the ACC. This time its Dino Babers who is headed to Syracuse to lead the Orange. His previous boss at Bowling Green was Dave Clawson, who left to run the program at Wake Forest two years ago. N.C. State’s Dave Doeren came from Northern Illinois and Steve Addazio coached at Temple which was in the Mid-American Conference during his first season there.

Clearly, the ACC Atlantic division ADs consider the MAC to be burgeoning with coaching talent.

Babers is originally another west coast guy, growing up in California and playing his college ball at the University of Hawaiʻi. He has coaching stops at UCLA, Texas A&M, Arizona, and Baylor among several others. He’s served in various roles on the offensive side of the ball including as an offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. This hire may well bring the added emphasis on scoring that many hoped for coming out of the defense-centric Scott Shafer era.

There were rumors published in The Oregonian that claim Syracuse offered Scott Frost a salary of $1.2 million per season, but Orange Athletic Director Mark Coyle called those figures “inaccurate”, though he declined to provide the details of Babers’ new deal.

Syracuse is a private school, so it’s possible that we won’t ever know the full details of the new contract aside from the length which is believed to be six years.

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