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BYU football: Mendenhall’s contract situation threatens to overshadow media day

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(Chris Detrick | The Salt Lake Tribune) Brigham Young Cougars head coach Bronco Mendenhall during the spring scrimmage at LaVell Edwards Stadium Saturday March 30, 2013.

By Jay Drew

The Salt Lake Tribune

First published Jun 25 2013 11:53AM
Updated Dec 7, 2013 11:34PM

Provo • BYU will stage its third annual Football Media Day on Wednesday at the BYU Broadcast Building on campus, getting the usual head start over almost everybody else in the race to hype the upcoming 2013 season.

Current players such as quarterback Taysom Hill, linebacker Kyle Van Noy and receiver Cody Hoffman will be thrust into the spotlight, along with former quarterbacks Robbie Bosco, Ty Detmer, Gifford Nielsen, Steve Sarkisian, Gary Sheide, Marc Wilson and Steve Young. Legendary coach LaVell Edwards will also participate in a live show with those former quarterbacking greats to be aired at 3 p.m. on BYUtv.

But the primary question threatening to overshadow the day’s events — barring an unexpected announcement — revolves around coach Bronco Mendenhall and his desired contract extension.

Why hasn’t the deal been signed yet?

The three-year contract extension Mendenhall signed early in 2011 is set to expire at the end of the 2013 season, and the coach who is entering his ninth season at the helm has said several times since the Cougars defeated San Diego State 23-6 in the 2012 Poinsettia Bowl that he would like another three-year extension.

"Our intent is to have it worked out as soon as possible," Mendenhall said on June 10, when cornered in the parking lot of The Country Club of Salt Lake City after a charity golf event. "But at this point it is not [signed]."

The coach referred all other questions, such as why it is taking so long, to athletic director Tom Holmoe.

"I can’t [tell you] why there’s a delay," Mendenhall said. "Tom could probably give whatever insight is needed there."

In his most recent public discussion of the matter, a May 29 roundtable chat with reporters, Holmoe acknowledged that Mendenhall "has done a really good job for us, and we are working on a contract to extend." However, the AD would not put a timetable on when he would like an agreement to be reached, saying only that both sides would prefer to have it done before the season starts on Aug. 31 at Virginia (1:30 p.m. MT, ESPNU).

Asked if there was any plausible reason why a deal wouldn’t be reached, Holmoe said: "Not that I can foresee."

Mendenhall’s agent and attorney, Dan Van Woerkom of American Fork, declined to answer questions about the coach’s contract situation on Monday, citing a "confidentiality agreement" that is reportedly in place. A BYU law school graduate and licensed sports agent, Van Woerkom also helped represent former BYU defensive end Ziggy Ansah, the Detroit Lions’ first-round draft pick, No. 5 overall, who signed a five-year contract on May 10.

A month ago, Holmoe characterized the process thusly, while reiterating that a contract had yet to be offered:

"We initially had a conversation around the time of the bowl game ... and then from there, we have probably had a couple other conversations about what he is looking for, what I am looking for, and how we can best meet the needs of each other. So the talks are ongoing, but the contract is not in anybody’s court yet."

Earlier this month, ESPN college football reporter Joe Schad noted on an ESPNU program that he spoke to a source close to the negotiations who claimed the school was dragging its feet.

"BYU has not moved the ball along in its court to make a deal that keeps the coach where he seems to be an ideal fit," Schad said.

Mendenhall is 74-29 at BYU, including 6-2 in bowl games.

drew@sltrib.com

Twitter: @drewjay

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