Groh not ‘retained,’ given $4.33M buyout

National search begins for new UVa. coach

Story by Chris Graham

groh-bewilderedAl Groh’s tenure as head football coach at the University of Virginia has come to an end, with an announcement from athletics director Craig Littlepage that Groh, 59-53 in nine seasons at his alma mater, would not be retained.

In a statement released by the UVa. sports information office this afternoon, it was reported that Littlepage had met with Groh earlier today to inform him of the decision.

The statement stopped short of saying that Groh had been fired, and did not indicate either that Groh had resigned.

The statement did offer that Groh and the UVa. athletics department had come to a financial agreement regarding payment for the final two years of his contract that will pay Groh $4.33 million.

“There is not a coach in the college game who has worked harder than Al Groh in trying to build a football program. Football is his life and he dedicated himself to the University and to our football team,” Littlepage said. “We are grateful for his service and for his commitment to his players and his coaching staff.”

The statement from UVa. said that a national search for a new coach will begin immediately. Littlepage did not specify a time frame for concluding the search because it is likely that at least some of the candidates will be involved in postseason play.

Among the names being thrown about in the media the past few days are Boise State’s Chris Petersen and the University of Richmond’s Mike London, a former Groh assistant before leading Richmond to a I-AA national title in 2008.

“Our goals for the UVa football program will remain the same. We will pursue winning and excellence in all facets of the University experience for our student-athletes, both on the field and in the classroom. There are a number of excellent coaches whose backgrounds and styles align with our goals and values,” Littlepage said. “When you combine our aspirations with the institutional commitment to athletic facilities and resources, I believe that the job of head football coach at UVa. will be attractive to some outstanding candidates.”

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