UVA's Mendenhall gets extension, embraces rising expectations

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 SPORTS) -- Bronco Mendenhall has watched as Virginia added two more NCAA championships to athletic department's total in a seven-week span. First it was men's basketball in mid-April, then Monday's national title in men's lacrosse.

The school's football coach welcomes the challenge that comes with the ever-raising bar at the university.

"The expectation at UVA is to win. And not only win, but win championships," Mendenhall said this week. "We love that."

Mendenhall is entering is fourth season as at Virginia. On Thursday morning, the school announced a two-year contract extension for the football coach, keeping him tied to UVA through the 2024 season.

After a two-win season in 2016, Mendenhall has led the Cavaliers to back-to-back bowl games, including last December's 28-0 win against South Carolina in the Belk Bowl that capped an 8-5 campaign. It was UVA's first eight-win season since 2011, and the program's first bowl game victory since 2005.

Last fall, the Wahoos entered November nationally ranked for the first time since 2011, and on top of the Coastal Division standings with three ACC games left. UVA lost all three of those games to fall out for contention for the division title, but some preseason publications have pointed at the Cavaliers as a potential favorite in the Coastal this season.

"It might be fun, exciting and intoxicating to read it, but really it doesn't matter," Mendenhall said. "We were picked last last year, and it didn't have anything to do with us beating South Carolina in the bowl game. So we still have to play. We still have to earn whatever our ranking or position will be. It's nice to be considered, and that folks have paid attention what's happened the last two years. But it has no impact on what we do."