Groh no go?
The chatter I’m hearing from sources around the UVa. athletics department is that it’s almost a 100 percent certainty that Groh will finish the 2009 season as the Virginia football coach.
It was my thinking that the school could have considered making the bye week upcoming between the Sept. 19 game at Southern Miss and the Oct. 3 game at UNC the week to perhaps install UVa. special-teams coordinator and former Kansas State head coach Ron Prince as the interim coach with an announcement at the same time that the university would begin shortly thereafter a national search for a permanent successor to Groh.
The hangup, I’m being told, is the pending retirement of UVa. President John Casteen and the sudden uncertainty around the job status of Athletics Director Craig Littlepage, whose department has fielded consistent losers in the revenue sports on the field and court and at the gate the past several years and may himself have his head on the chopping block following the William & Mary debacle this past weekend.
The new president and a new AD, if one is in the offing, would certainly want to have some say if not a big say in who the head coach in the marquee revenue sport is going to be.
This would likely prevent UVa. from being able to do what UNC did three years ago when it fired John Bunting midseason and had Butch Davis in place before the end of the 2006 campaign to begin hiring his own staff and work on keeping Bunting’s recruits and maybe add a few of his own.
It isn’t out of the realm of possibility that Virginia could either fire Groh or that Groh could announce his retirement effective at the end of the season as part of such a scenario, but I’m not hearing that this is at all likely at this point.
– Column by Chris Graham