BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall had an idea he wanted to surprise his team with. As the Cougars walked into the locker room on Thursday to don their uniforms for team picture day, they learned their last names had been removed in favor of the terms Spirit, Honor and Tradition. Mendenhall liked the idea so much, apparently, that he didn't want to spoil the surprise by informing anyone else in the BYU football offices, including the sports information staff.
It didn't go over well.
Circumstances then combined into an unfortunate and unexpected public-relations snafu, as a stunned BYU football team stumbled directly into the waiting microphones and notebooks of the media, including Salt Lake Tribue beat writer Jay Drew.
A sampling of Drew's tweets:
Mendenhall's plan was to keep the new nameplates for as long as he was BYU's head coach. A couple hours later, the plan had changed drastically. Instead of perpetuity, the nameplates would be worn for the Cougars' Homecoming only.
We give Mendenhall a large amount of credit for listening to his team and bowing to their strongly-held desires. Not every head coach would be this flexible, especially on an idea he clearly thought was a good one. But we have to believe the next time the head Cougar wants to surprise his team, he'll talk it over with a leadership council or the senior class first.