Bronco Mendenhall’s BYU team once again got drubbed by the Utah team in the annual Rivalry for Charity golf tournament Monday at The Country Club in Salt Lake City, but at least the Cougars’ head football coach didn’t have to sing the Utes’ fight song this time.
“It was much better that way,” Mendenhall said. “So I’m happy.”
He was also happy to skirt questions about his contract status, with his current three-year agreement set to expire after the 2013 season.
In his first public appearance since BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe met with reporters on May 29 and said school officials were still in talks with Mendenhall about a contract extension, Mendenhall acknowledged that he would like to get the deal done quickly.
But Mendenhall declined to answer a specific question about why it is taking so long.
“Probably the best thing is just to have Tom be the spokesman for that,” he told The Salt Lake Tribune in the Country Club parking lot after the event which benefits the National Kidney Foundation of Utah and Idaho. “Our intent is to have it worked out as soon as possible. But at this point it is not [signed]. He could probably give whatever insight is needed there.”
Regarding his once-a-year golf game, Mendenhall said this annual event for him has never been about proving who can get the best golfers together.
“I like the event, and I like it because of who benefits from it. Again, I only play once a year now, and this is it. But it is a great cause, and I think it is helpful to people,” he said.
Former BYU coach LaVell Edwards, also put together a team, but also had to sit back with Mendenhall and listen as some Utah cheerleaders and former coach Ron McBride led the crowd at the post-tournament luncheon in a half-hearted effort to sing “Utah Man.” After helping his four-man scramble team that consisted of pros Dustin Pimm and Tracy Zobell and his son, Tyler, shoot a 20-under-par 52, Utah coach Kyle Whittingham had to skip the luncheon altogether to get to a youth football camp.
Mendenhall always goes into this event, which celebrated its 26th year Monday, knowing that he’s got no shot of winning because he insists on bringing current players, friends and assistant coaches, while Whittingham brings ringers such as Pimm and Zobell.
The BYU coach’s group of quarterback Taysom Hill, running backs coach Mark Atuaia and Zions Bank representative Rob Brough shot a 64, a good 12 shots worse than Whittingham’s foursome.
McBride’s team of pro Gipper Finau, Mike Gale and 2012 State Am champion Jon Wright defeated Edwards’ team of Richard Watson, Ryan Rice and Dane Van Pelt, but their scores weren’t disclosed.
With Whittingham absent and Mendenhall sitting at a table in the corner, the best moments came when Edwards and McBride engaged in some good-natured verbal sparring at the podium, with Edwards joking that McBride came from San Quentin, a prison in California, before joining Utah’s coaching staff long ago and McBride joking that Edwards should go back to his country club in Provo.
“Man, I hate that song,” Edwards said moments after Utah boosters in the crowd shouted “Go Utes” at its conclusion, drawing laughter.
It is well-documented that Mendenhall and Whittingham don’t have and will likely never have the kind of chummy relationship that McBride and Edwards have forged, and Mendenhall acknowledged Monday that trying to force something through the tradition of having the losing coach sing the rival school’s fight song just wasn’t working.
“And really, the two coaches who do the best in terms of interacting with one another, and have the best sense of what the tournament is about, they are able to, kind of, I think bring back the spirit of what the rivalry is, and highlight that through this golf tournament and take some pressure off both Kyle and I, who aren’t golfers,” Mendenhall said. “So I think it is better.”
26th Annual Rivalry for Charity golf tournament
• Teams led by Utah football coach Kyle Whittingham and former coach Ron McBride defeated teams led by BYU football coach Bronco Mendenhall and former coach LaVell Edwards
• The annual event at The Country Club of Salt Lake City benefits the National Kidney Foundation of Utah and Idaho
• Whittingham’s team of himself, his son Tyler and golf professionals Dustin Pimm and Tracy Zobell shot a 20-under-par 52.