"I'm excited to announce the addition of Ben Cahoon to complete our coaching staff," Mendenhall said. "Ben is passionate about what we are doing at BYU and possesses a work ethic and a mastery of the receiver position that is nearly unmatched. He will have a tremendous influence on the young men under his care."
A receiver at BYU from 1995-97, Cahoon returns to his alma mater after a 13-year professional career in which he became the Canadian Football League's all-time receptions leader and a two-time recipient of the CFL Most Outstanding Canadian award. Selected sixth overall in the 1998 CFL Draft by the Montreal Alouettes, Cahoon spent his entire career in Montreal where he contributed to three Grey Cup championships, including back-to-back titles the past two seasons.
"I'm extremely excited to have this opportunity to coach at my alma mater," Cahoon said. "I am so grateful for the chance to play professional football in Montreal for the past 13 years, and now I'm looking forward to this new challenge as I enter the coaching profession. I plan to approach coaching the same way I played, with consistent effort, determination and hard work. I love BYU. I love what BYU stands for. I'm honored to be a Cougar."
Cahoon retired from the CFL in January with an all-time record of 1,017 regular-season receptions for 13,301 yards, sixth in CFL history, and 65 touchdowns. In addition, he finished his playing career as the all-time leading receiver in Grey Cup history with 47 receptions and 666 receiving yards. A 10-time division all-star known for his sure hands, exceptional route running and durability, Cahoon caught at least one pass in 202 of his last 203 professional games. Cahoon was named the CFL's Outstanding Canadian in 2002 and 2003 as well as the Outstanding Canadian in the Grey Cup in 2003 and 2009.
An Academic All-American and team captain at BYU, Cahoon redshirted the 1995 season before playing in every game as a member of the 1996 Cotton Bowl champions that went 14-1 and finished No. 5 in the nation. He started every game as a senior in 1997 while ranking No. 23 in the nation with a team-leading 931 receiving yards and 57 catches. In addition to earning CoSIDA Academic All-America recognition in 1997, Cahoon was named to the All-WAC Second Team and received College Sporting News All-America honorable mention.
He finished his BYU career with 68 receptions for 1,097 yards and six touchdowns. His 219 yards receiving at Arizona State in 1997 still ranks No. 9 in BYU history for a single-game performance. He was the recipient of the 2010 LaVell Edwards Distinguished Alumni Award.
A native of Orem, Utah, Cahoon graduated from Mountain View High School in 1990 and served a mission in Philadelphia for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from 1991-93. He played two seasons at Ricks College (now BYU-Idaho) in Rexburg, Idaho, from 1993-94, where he received Academic All-America and Junior College All-America honorable mention recognition and still holds records for receptions in a season and receptions and receiving yards in a career.
Cahoon graduated from BYU with a bachelor's degree in pre-physical therapy in 1998. He and his wife, Kimberli, have four daughters: McKelle, Kylee, Camri and Hallie.
With the hiring of Cahoon, Mendenhall also announced the completion of his postseason evaluations and identified the coaching assignments for the 2011 season.
Brandon Doman, as previously announced, will serve as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. Assistant head coach Lance Reynolds will coach tight ends, Mark Weber will continue working with the offensive line and recently hired Joe DuPaix from Navy will coach running backs and coordinate recruiting. Mendenhall will continue to oversee the defense as the coordinator with the defensive staff maintaining their previous position assignments: Steve Kaufusi, defensive line; Paul Tidwell, inside linebackers; Kelly Poppinga, outside linebackers; and Nick Howell, defensive backs. Howell will also serve as special teams coordinator.
"We have a fantastic coaching staff in place," Mendenhall said. "We have the experience, expertise and passion to help the exceptional young men in our program be successful and have a great experience as we enter this new and exciting time as an independent program."