Skip to main content

Former Virginia great Anthony Poindexter emerging as key candidate in Cavs' search

Multiple sources tell FootballScoop that the former UVa All-American is gaining strong traction in the Cavs' search to replace Bronco Mendenhall

The University of Virginia coaching search barely is less than a week old, following Bronco Mendenhall's sudden decision to step down from the program last Thursday, but a former Cavaliers all-time great quickly is emerging as a serious candidate in the process.

Multiple sources throughout college football, including in the Atlantic Coast Conference, tell FootballScoop that Anthony Poindexter, a former Cavaliers All-American safety, is among the candidates garnering serious consideration for the UVA head-coaching position.

A Lynchburg, Virginia, native who played for legendary Cavaliers coach George Welsh from 1995-98, capping his career in Charlottesville, Virginia, with ACC Defensive Player of the Year honors and later winning a Super Bowl title during a brief NFL career, Poindexter has steeply sharpened his career arc in recent years. Virginia officials previously retired Poindexter's No. 3 jersey, and he also gained induction into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2020.

After breaking into coaching at the collegiate level with 11 seasons on staff at his alma mater, Poindexter also has served as defensive coordinator or co-defensive coordinator the past eight seasons in stops at UConn, Purdue and Penn State, respectively.

Poindexter, along with Brent Pry, helped engineer a Penn State defense in 2021 that was among the nation's top 25 defenses in a variety of statistical categories.

Pry was hired last week in the Commonwealth, when Virginia Tech tabbed the former Frank Beamer disciple to its top spot.

There was chatter immediately at that time that Pry could try to convince Poindexter to join him in Blacksburg. However, barely 24 hours after Pry's move atop the Hokies became official, Mendenhall stepped down from Virginia.

Per sources, there's belief that Poindexter can help hold together and push forward a Virginia program that in 2019 played for the ACC title and earned a berth in the Orange Bowl. Specifically, per sources, Poindexter could likely hang on to current Virginia wide receivers coach Marques Hagans – who like Poindexter is a former Cavaliers standout with deep experience at the school and recruiting throughout the region.

Additionally, Clemson offensive coordinator Tony Elliott's name has surfaced in the Virginia search – and Elliott also has been identified as a candidate for the opening atop the Duke University football program after David Cutcliffe and the school parted ways last Monday.

As always, stay tuned to The Scoop for the latest coaching news.