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Jay Drew
Jay covers BYU athletics for The Salt Lake Tribune. You can follow him on Twitter @drewjay.

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Bronco's contract extension biggest news to come out of BYU media day

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Just finished up here at BYU football media day. Besides listening to the two sessions that were televised live on BYUtv and ESPN3, I interviewed more than a dozen players, former players, coaches and media types.

Got enough stuff for a couple weeks' worth of blogs, so keep checking back.

Easily, the biggest news to come out of today was coach Bronco Mendenhall's rather benign acknowledgement that he has signed a three-year contract extension.

Sounds like Mendenhall signed it last January, when his contract was close to expiring. Seriously, somehow it went unnoticed, and unreported, that Mendenhall was at the end of his contract when the Cougars were walloping UTEP in the New Mexico Bowl last December.

It was not a formal announcement by BYU, not part of the planned media day announcements.

I asked Bronco whether he was happy with his current compensation, given the fact that basketball coach Dave Rose got a new contract last March after leading the Cougars to the Sweet 16.

His reply:

"Tom wanted to announce it, and I asked him not to. I have extended [the contract]. I extended after last season for three more years.

"I am absolutely, 100 percent satisfied. I have been treated more than fairly. BYU wanted to make it longer term than that, and I am very realistic.

"There is a lot on the line, going independent. I want to be worthy of the position I have, and I am going to give everything I have for those three [years].

"I am not saying I won't go farther than that. I am hoping that's what is reported. It is not three and done.

But I am willing to lead the charge through independence, and then re-evaluate. "That's where I currently stand. But BYU has been fantastic and pro-active in everything they have done.

"I am treated very fairly and I am completely comfortable with that, moreso now than I have ever been in my career."

After scraping my jaw off the table I was sitting at, I asked Bronco why he didn't want it announced back then.

"As BYU's coach, there's enough attention. I just didn't want that to be another story. But I am completely happy here. I want to coach here as long as I am wanted, and as long as I feel like it is where I am supposed to be. It seemed like I was invigorated and so excited by the chance to continue to move the program forward.

"This idea of independence, many would have backed away from it. I am eager to be the coach to take it on. There's a huge amount of risk, but there's also a great opportunity for reward as well, and I am looking forward to that.

"I know the increased energy that it is going to take. I thought it was fair to our players, our institution, and Tom [Holmoe].

"I mean, how can you sign a 10-year deal? How does any of us know where they are going to be 10 years from now? So, just in fairness, three seemed... Three years in coaching, that's like dog years, kind of. Three years in a coaching life is like 21."

Mendenhall's last statement made it sound as if BYU offered a 10-year contract. But Mendenhall clarified that later, saying a definitive length was never discussed and that he suggested three years.

Told that Mendenhall had announced his own contract extension, Holmoe confirmed that Mendenhall didn't want it announced in January.

"We approached him, and typically with Dave [Rose] and Bronco, we have kept them on the same schedule, and we have renegotiated a couple times," Holmoe said.

"So, we went to Bronco and said, 'What should we do?' It was like scheduling. You know, 'Bronco, what do you want to do?'"

And that's what we worked out.

Would I have signed him to a five-year contract? Sure. If the terms were right."

So Bronco settled for three years when he could have had a longer deal?

"Yeah," Holmoe said. "He liked three years. I think three years is great."

-------------------------

That's all for now. More to come later.....



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