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Chris Graham: So, UVa. paid Mike London $1.09 million per win?

My Google News alert for Mike London keeps buzzing with columnists across the country writing about a USA Today analysis of how much D1 schools are paying their football coaches on a cost-per-win basis.

london littlepageAccording to the analysis, UVa. paid London $1.09 million per win in 2013. (With one of those wins coming against one of the weaker I-AAs in the country, VMI.) That put Virginia third on a list of five schools that shelled out at least $1 million per win in 2013.

The others (Darrell Hazel at Purdue, Sonny Dykes at Cal, Bret Bielema at Arkansas and Mark Stoops at Kentucky) were in their first year at their schools. (London is in his fourth at Virginia.)

Numbers are numbers, facts are facts, but … come on, shouldn’t we try to be fair to Mike London and the people who keep him employed?


Actually, yes, we should. And being fair, we have to point out that he wasn’t paid $1.09 million per win in 2013. He was paid $2.18 million in 2013 to be the head coach of the football program.

OK, but isn’t a big part of that job to win football games?

Well, yes. But before you can win football games, you have to do the work behind the scenes, in film study, in group meetings, on the practice field.

He’s had three losing seasons in four years. Whatever they’re doing in film study, in group meetings and on the practice field isn’t working.

Negative Nates, you are. Ahem, you also have to win on the recruiting trail. No matter how good a coach you are, you need to have talent on the two-deep to be able to put up Ws in the fall. And London is doing that, with two consensus national Top 10 recruits coming in the class of 2014 to add to Top 30 classes in his first three full recruiting seasons.

But the Class of 2014 is currently ranked 48th by Rivals. If that doesn’t improve, it would be the worst ranked recruiting class at UVa. since Al Groh’s last year.

Thanks for mentioning that Al Groh guy. He didn’t leave much in the ol’ cupboard for Mike to work with, did he? That’s a big reason Mike has had such a hard time getting things turned around.

Groh’s last season in Charlottesville was 2009. His recruits formed the nucleus of that 2011 Chick-fil-A Bowl team that got London his extension. This “young team” that everybody talked about this past fall was made up almost entirely of London recruits. And once they blew the final whistle at the end of the Virginia Tech game, it became 100 percent London. So stop blaming Al.

OK, so, well, whatever. London will finally go into a season with a team made up lock, stock and barrel of London recruits in 2014. He got rid of the dead weight (Michael Rocco, Michael Strauss) that he inherited from Groh at QB …

Um, hello, bulletin board material? Rocco and Strauss are at Richmond now. Remember Richmond, the team that we play in Week 2 in 2014? Who will probably come into the game with two better options at quarterback than the guy we’ll have starting?

Not fair. David Watford is from the 7-5-7. And sure, he struggled at times in 2013 …

If by “at times” you mean Games 1-12, then, sure.

He had a good half against Duke, and a good half against Georgia Tech. He got better as the season went on.

Um, no. In his first eight games, Watford completed 60.8 percent of his passes, had seven TDs and nine INTs, and averaged 214.4 yards per game through the air. In his last four games, he completed 46.9 percent of his passes, had one TD and six INTs, and averaged 121.8 passing yards per game. Regression, thy name is Watford.

You’re just a Mike London hater. I’ve had enough of this conversation.

You’ve apparently been drinking the Kool-Aid in the press room at JPJ. What, did Craig Littlepage pat you on the head and ask you how you were doing before the Norfolk State game?

Um, er, well, he did wish me a Merry Christmas.


Yeah, I know.

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  • Working on this column actually made me come to realize how much I miss Al Groh.

  • ‘Nuther thought: At $1.09 million per win, maybe what UVa. is doing is not trying hard enough. Alabama is paying Nick Saban $7.5 million a year. If UVa. paid London that, he’d win seven games next year.

  • Rob Wagner

    Please write a column like this every week. London is so far over his head and another season of this will not fix anything.

  • jamie Luisi

    I miss Steve Greer too. Wow was he under appreciated or what?

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