Bronco Mendenhall did not take long to put together his staff at Virginia. But one hire was years in the making.
Mendenhall announced over the weekend, former ECU Head Coach Ruffin McNeill was hired to become UVA's inside linebackers/assistant head coach.
“Three or four years ago, they were struggling defensively (after 2012), we’ve had really good success defensively and he had an interest in what we were doing, so he sent his staff out,” Mendenhall told reports as BYU prepares for its Bowl game in Las Vegas. "After that, our guys went back to continue the relationship and do some tutoring.
“Along the way, Ruffin kind of became this genuine person that knows a lot about football, that really is skilled in caring for players and teaching, That captivated me. I learned along the way that our offensive coordinator Robert Anae and he were best friends, and their wives.
“Now here comes this opportunity with an existing relationship, an existing friendship and a commonality of what we do and why,” Mendenhall said. “And knowing that he has head coaching experience and he can be a great assistant head coach. That just magically unfolded in just the right way at the right time.”