Virginia football coach Bronco Mendenhall has been vocal about the program’s need for improved facilities. On Thursday, he put his money where his mouth is.

Mendenhall and his wife, Holly, have donated $500,000 to the construction of a new football operations center as part of the athletic department’s $180 million Master Plan. The gift is the largest of its kind made by a head coach in UVa history.

“Holly and I are excited to be a part of the process that transforms Virginia football,” Mendenhall said Thursday in a release announcing the donation. “We love developing young people through football and the new football operations center will provide our young men a home where they can develop into exceptional football players, students and leaders.”

The football operations center will replace the Cavaliers’ current practice field between the George Welsh Indoor Practice Facility and the McCue Center, which currently houses offices, meeting rooms and a weight room for the football team.

The new operations center will feature a locker room, position rooms, a team meeting room, coaches and staff offices as well as areas for strength and conditioning, sports medicine, sports nutrition, video operations and an equipment room. Outdoor practice fields will be installed behind the George Welsh Indoor Facility.

The McCue Center, which opened in 1991, is no longer suitable to house the needs of a Power 5 conference football program. Since the McCue Center opened, every current ACC football program has renovated or opened a new support facility, according to UVa’s online fundraising campaign.

“I am very thankful that Bronco and Holly have further demonstrated their commitment to the University of Virginia with this gift,” Virginia director of athletics Carla Williams said in Thursday’s release. “Bronco’s vision for the impact this facility will have on the football program is inspiring, and I hope his and Holly’s gift will motivate others to invest in the future of Virginia student-athletes.”

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Ron Counts covers University of Virginia athletics for The Daily Progress.​ Contact him at, (434) 978-7245, or on Twitter @Ron_CDPsports.

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