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Provo • Only one certainly exists when it comes to compiling the list of coaches in the pool to replace Bronco Mendenhall, the BYU football coach who stunningly resigned on Friday afternoon to take the head position across the country at the University of Virginia.
It's a very short list.
Because the new coach at BYU will have to be a member in good standing of the church that owns and operates BYU, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, it is as shallow a candidate pool for a Division I coaching job as any in the country.
Because BYU is a private institution not subject to open-records laws, Mendenhall's salary at BYU is not known. He signed a five-year contract with Virginia on Friday that will pay him $3.25 million annually.
Suffice it to say, the new BYU coach will make substantially less probably in the $1 million range.
Any list of candidates would have to include the following, all of whom are believed to be active Mormons:
• Navy head coach Ken Niumatalolo. He would have to be willing to give up the triple-option offense he runs for the Naval Academy, but Niumatalolo has been quite successful at another school with limited recruiting ability. The Midshipmen have been to three bowl games in three years, and were in the Top 25 this season. His leading role in the movie "Meet the Mormons" shows he already has caught the eye of LDS Church officials.
• Oregon State defensive coordinator Kalani Sitake. The 40-year-old former BYU fullback is on the younger side, but was extremely successful as Utah's defensive coordinator for six years before joining former Utah State and Wisconsin coach Gary Andersen at Oregon State. He is as familiar with BYU's unique recruiting challenges as anyone in the country outside a current staff member.
• Stanford defensive coordinator Lance Anderson. The Cardinal have used Anderson's Utah ties and familiarity with the Beehive State to plumb several high-profile recruits out of the area and he is highly respected as the architect of some strong Stanford defenses through the years.
• BYU offensive coordinator Robert Anae. Mendenhall was promoted to head coach from defensive coordinator, showing that athletic director Tom Holmoe wasn't afraid to promote from within. Besides Anae, no coach on Mendenhall's current staff has the experience to be heavily considered. His current title, after all, is assistant head coach.
• Seattle Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell. A returned Mormon missionary who played quarterback at Wisconsin and coached at Connecticut and for the Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings before moving on to his current post for the Seahawks, Bevell might be too expensive for BYU. Zero ties to the BYU, aside from his church membership, could be a drawback.
• Long shots, but maybe worth mentioning because of their LDS ties: Weber State coach Jay Hill and Kansas City Chiefs coach Andy Reid.