Welsh's legacy provides a clear vision for Bronco

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 SPORTS) -- It did not take long for Virginia Coach Bronco Mendenhall to recognize the legacy and impact left behind by the late George Welsh on Saturday.

"I walk in and Franco Harris is speaking and that's an amazing thing when you see Hall of Fame players coached by our coach," Mendenhall said of seeing players like Harris, who Welsh coached at Penn State.

Mendenhall was one of the speakers at Welsh's Celebration of Life ceremony on Saturday, which was filled with former players and coaches. Mendenhall said looking at the crowd of players, including UVA greats Ronde Barber, Chris Slade and Anthony Poindexter, was looking at Virginia football history through a new lens.

"The impact was certainly impressive, but whom he impacted and what they went on to do was really significant to me and humbling," Mendenhall said, "It set a really high standard and a really high bar, which I was grateful for."

In his speech, Mendenhall listed off similarities pointed out to him that he shares with Welsh. Both coaches were hired by Virginia at 49-years old and both took over UVA programs coming off five losing seasons in their last six. Both Welsh and Mendenhall finished with the same amount of wins in their first three season, from two wins to six wins and then eight wins and a bowl victory in their third season.

After seeing and hearing more about Virginia football under Welsh, Bronco said he has a clear vision for what this program has been and could be.

"Without that experience [Saturday], I don't think I would have had as clear a vision as what Coach Welsh did," Mendenhall said, "But really what UVA football has been and maybe what that era looked like."



 
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