Instead of a normal spring football schedule, programs across the country need creativity to manage the uncharted territory of this year’s spring slate.
With the spread of the coronavirus halting spring sports activity, teams and coaches need to practice social distancing while still running their football programs.
For Virginia head football coach Bronco Mendenhall, that means working from home.
“What Holly and I call the ‘HB3,’ which is our ranch — Holly, Bronco and our three boys — that’s kind of become UVa operations central right now,” Mendenhall said.
The head coach shared his daily schedule at HB3 with the media Thursday on a Zoom video conference call.
8 a.m. — Work begins for Mendenhall, who uses his pool house as his central work zone. He starts his day by waking up and grabbing a green smoothie on his way from his bed to the pool house. Usually a 12-minute commute from his home to the McCue Center, this commute takes about a minute. With the pit stop for the smoothie, it’s closer to four minutes.
Mendenhall’s pool house work station mirrors that of his usual office.
“I have all the exact same things that I would have at the office here, so all of my computers and film, and I have a big screen in there, just the work station would at work,” Mendenhall said.
12 p.m. — Mendenhall breaks for lunch and to work out. Even the head coach has to stay in shape.
2 p.m. — Mendenhall meets remotely with his staff to go over everything they need to discuss. He says they’ve been spending some time recently being creative about developing workout plans for athletes. With gyms across the country shutting down to help slow the spread of the coronavirus, it’s challenging for players to work out. The staff has developed body weight programs for athletes to follow.
3 p.m. — It’s time for recruiting. Mendenhall hops on the phone or video calls with recruits. Recruiting during this time is a challenge because there’s a dead period that only allows calls and written correspondence until at least April 15.
“These kinds of meetings we’re having right now, Facetime, texting, phone calls, all the things that are within the rules the NCAA has given us, we’re maximizing those and then trying to create as many virtual things as possible for those who haven’t been able to visit grounds so they can see grounds and be interactive with them,” Mendenhall said.
With in-person visits not allowed, the Cavaliers do their best to provide virtual interaction for prospects to get a feel for UVa and grounds.
5 p.m. — Mendenhall packs up and readies himself for his one-minute commute from the pool house to the main house.
5:10 p.m. — After a few minutes to change clothes, Mendenhall transitions to activities with his sons.
“My boys are into rodeo,” Mendenhall said. “I have a roping arena on my property. I transition into my cowboy clothes. I go out and ride for a couple hours.”
From football coach to cowboy in a matter of minutes.
7 p.m. — Mendenhall does more recruiting from about 7-9 p.m. He takes phone calls with recruits during this period, which is allowed under the current NCAA rules.
Presumably, the head coach works in dinner somewhere along the way. He winds down after the final recruiting calls and prepares to follow the same structure the next day.
It’s a change of pace for the coach who is used to busy days at the facility, but he and his wife, Holly, acknowledge the silver lining in the changes.
“More importantly, my son Cutter is home from Brigham Young, so we have our entire family here,” Mendenhall said. “Holly, I think, is the happiest that anyone possibly could be, even though there’s the challenge of this virus and what’s happening nationwide, but that led to our entire family being home right now. She’s really happy to have her three boys all here.”