ACC Kickoff: UVA players back their embattled coach

Mike London is on the hot seat in 2014
Mike London is on the hot seat in 2014. (photo by Mike Ingalls,

GREENSBORO, N.C. – With the ACC Football Media Days (#ACCKickoff) here, the Virginia Cavaliers are nearing their fifth year under the leadership of head coach Mike London.

London, who arrived in Charlottesville after a pair of wildly successful seasons with the University of Richmond, has just one winning year under his belt since taking over the Cavaliers’ program in 2010, an 8-5 2011 season that ended in a 43-24 Chick-fil-A Bowl loss to Auburn. Other than that, three seasons totaling 10 wins has put a negative cloud over the program.

Though London received a contract extension in 2011 that takes him through 2016, poor on-field results since then have put his job security in question. Athlon Sports has ranked London at No. 2 for Coaches on the Hot Seat behind Florida’s Will Muschamp.

His players are well aware of these rumblings.

“I’d be lying to you if I said we don’t hear this kind of stuff about coach London,” Kevin Parks, Virginia’s All-ACC running back, said. “But coach London didn’t lose the game, we lost the game. We went 2-10. Our job is get back to winning and help coach London out.”

“I look up to him personally, and I want to win to help him out. So I’m going to do anything in my will to help him win.”

London is 8-24 in ACC play since becoming Virginia’s head coach, with five of those wins coming in 2011. He is 3-6 against FBS opponents ranked in the top 25.

“It’s something that comes up a lot, whether it’s in the media or different thing like that,” All-American safety Anthony Harris said. “It’s something that crosses your mind, but at the end of the day, each day we are working to get better. It may mean a lot in the scheme of things, but we don’t think about it too much.

“I feel like our guys don’t feel pressured to win, but more so anxious to win, more so excited to be able to get out there and turn it around.”

In February, Virginia athletic director Craig Littlepage issued London a vote of confidence.

“I think he will get things back on track, yes,” Littlepage said to “He’s recruited well, A, and B, I think he’s assembled a phenomenal staff, and C, I think that he has the right values and understands the University of Virginia and what it takes to be successful here as well as anybody. Those three things would lead me to believe he’s going to get things back on track.”

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