New Mexico hires Bronco Mendenhall as football coach

Levi Williams scrambles in for thrilling game-winning TD in 2OT (0:49)

Utah State's Levi Williams fumbles the snap but is able to recover and run it in for a touchdown in double overtime. (0:49)

New Mexico has hired Bronco Mendenhall to be the school's next football coach, it was announced Wednesday.

Terms were not announced. Sources told ESPN's Pete Thamel that the deal is for five seasons.

Mendenhall, 57, has been an FBS head coach for 17 seasons, with successful stints at Virginia and BYU. He hasn't coached since 2021, when he left Virginia to "reassess, renew, reframe and reinvent."

He will take on one of the biggest challenges in college football, as New Mexico hasn't won more than four games since 2016.

"We are excited to welcome Bronco Mendenhall as our new head football coach," athletic director Eddie Nuñez said in a statement. "Throughout this process, we were looking for not just a proven winner, but a leader of men that has a clear vision for what our program can be. Coach Mendenhall has twice taken over programs that were struggling, turning them into winning, championship programs."

Mendenhall, a former New Mexico assistant coach (1998-2002), knows the territory well. There is little local recruiting base and resources are limited. Part of what has been appealing to Mendenhall has been the scope of the rebuild, sources told ESPN.

"We welcome the challenge and opportunity of building a program of excellence," Mendenhall said in a statement. "We are excited to get to know the players, assemble a world-class group of people, immerse ourselves in the community and truly make a difference at UNM."

Mendenhall led BYU to 11 consecutive bowl games and five seasons of 10 or more wins. At Virginia, he built the Cavaliers into a contender in the ACC, including a 9-5 Orange Bowl season in 2019.

Mendenhall has a 135-81 career record. He led BYU to AP Top 25 rankings in seven different seasons, including the top 10 in 2008 and 2009. He led Virginia to Top 25 rankings in two different campaigns.

In 16 of those 17 seasons, his teams have been bowl-eligible.

Mendenhall has always been considered one of the sport's top thinkers who values building sound structure.

He will succeed Danny Gonzales, a New Mexico alum who was fired Nov. 25 after going 11-32 in a four-year tenure.