The surprising announcement came in a news release Thursday and gave no explanation as to why the 55-year-old Mendenhall was leaving the school after a 6-6 regular season. There was no mention of retirement.
In a hastily organized conference call with reporters, Mendenhall said: “I need to step back from college football.”
He added: “This is 100 percent my choice.”
Mendenhall went 36-38 at Virginia, leading the Cavaliers to five straight bowl appearances and their only Atlantic Coast Conference title game appearance two years ago.