The Virginia Cavaliers are looking for a new head football coach but one of their top targets appears to be out of the running.
Virginia wasn’t supposed to be searching for a new coach but Bronco Mendenhall abruptly resigned last week, citing a need to step back from college football. Mendenhall came to Charlottesville in 2016 after 11 seasons as the head coach at BYU. He rebuilt the ACC program quickly, getting to six wins by his second season and leading Virginia to three bowls, including an Orange Bowl in 2019.
The school seemed to have zeroed in on two major candidates. Anthony Poindexter, the co-defensive coordinator at Penn State, and Tony Elliott, the offensive coordinator at Clemson. Elliott has been considered a frontrunner for the open Duke job but has reportedly expressed more interest in the Cavaliers gig instead. Meanwhile, Poindexter, a Virginia alum and longtime assistant coach with the school, was thought to be a shoo-in for the position given his background and coaching acumen.
Turns out, that won’t be the case. ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg reported that he texted with Poindexter and the coach has decided to stay with the Nittany Lions.
Just received a text from #PennState co-defensive coordinator Anthony Poindexter: "Timing is everything for both sides. There will be a day, but I'm going to stay at Penn State."
— Adam Rittenberg (@ESPNRittenberg) December 8, 2021
“Timing is everything for both sides,” texted Poindexter. “There will be a day, but I’m going to stay at Penn State.”
Meanwhile, it appears that Elliott is en route to Charlottesville to interview or possibly accept the position, though the outcome of the meeting is obviously unknown at this time.
Multiple sources confirm Clemson offensive coordinator Tony Elliott is aboard a plane bound for Charlottesville where he will interview today for the #UVA football job.@LarryWilliamsTI, down in South Carolina, saw Elliott and his family board the plane just moments ago.
— Mike Barber (@RTD_MikeBarber) December 8, 2021
Whatever happens with Elliott, we know that Poindexter, who has also made stops in Purdue and Uconn, is staying in Happy Valley for now. And the move has certainly generated some reactions amongst the college football world on social media.
Wow. Didn't expect this, but it probably says a lot about what Penn State is planning, too. That's a really good keep for CJF. https://t.co/d6ElvacYXu
— Donnie Collins (@PennStateTT) December 8, 2021
Despite being a leading candidate for the UVA job, Penn State safeties coach and co-defensive coordinator Anthony Poindexter is staying in Happy Valley. https://t.co/oH5KJmbjmN
— Black Shoe Diaries (@BSDtweet) December 8, 2021
Fascinating development for Penn State https://t.co/w5N7I7k4NP
— Audrey Snyder (@audsnyder4) December 8, 2021
I didn’t want this guy at UVA👏🏼 https://t.co/tLbhhs7dU9
— Pete B. (@petebvt) December 8, 2021
I believe Pointdexter could have been a target as DC under the prior regime of Bronco Mendenhall at UVA. https://t.co/SfJEdBD7Ik
— Benjamin Criddle (@CriddleBenjamin) December 8, 2021
Like so many decisions in this coaching cycle, we’ll see how the ramifications of this move play out for Penn State, Virginia, and other schools.