Four decades of dominance

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Ari Davis
Dave McCann interviews Bronco Mendenhall at the BYU Broadcasting Building. BYU Cougars from 1975 to the present gathered together to talk about four decades of football dominance.  (Ari Davis)

Former BYU football players returned to campus this summer to reminisce about the past four decades of Cougar football.

On June 24, during the 2015 BYU Football Media Day, players from the past 40 years came together, shared their stories and watched highlights of the glory days.

Current coach Bronco Mendenhall said learning BYU football history is an important task for current players. “When teams or people forget their stories, they lose their culture.”

BYU is number five in the country in total wins since 1975, and the football program has produced 51 All-American players and 40 Super Bowl champions. “When you consider only four teams have won more in 40 years, now that’s an amazing thing,” Mendenhall said. “It’s just fun to play a small part in continuing this legacy.”

Panels of three players from each of the past four decades discussed their favorite memories and games from 1975 to 1984.

“It’s just such an honor to be a part of that tradition,” said Marc Wilson, who played for the Cougars from 1975 to 1979. “To know that we were a part of the beginning of something that went on is really gratifying.”

Wilson’s teammate, Jeff Blanc, who played from 1973 to 1976, agreed, saying, “It’s fun to be part of the start of it and see what these guys have done. It makes you proud.”

Derwyn Gray, who played for the Cougars from 1989 to 1992, gave advice to the current players. “I hope that the players of 2015 recognize the legacy and draw strength from that legacy,” he said. “Every weight you lift, every step you take, every mental rep you take, everything you do, you realize you are in a story that’s bigger than you.”

Other players present at the presentation included Heisman Trophy winner Ty Detmer, Glen Kozlowski, Matt Bellini, Omarr Morgan, Chris Oak, Gabe Reid, Harvey Unga, Jonny Harline, and Dennis Pitta.

“I’m proud of the past 10 years and I’m also extremely fortunate to acknowledge the previous 30,” Mendenhall said.

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