It’s finally time for UVA to make the Mike London move

mike-london-ndIt’s official. Another UVA season will end with a losing record. Which means it’s time for the athletics department to finally deal with its Mike London issue. Now.

London should not survive the weekend. At the least, athletics director Craig Littlepage needs to make an announcement on Sunday informing fans and alums that London will not be retained at the end of the season.

That way, there’s no question that the program will look to move forward at the end of the 2015 season with a new man in charge.

That would also allow Littlepage to get a head start on that coaching search, which of course will in actuality will mean he can start catching up with everybody else in the market for a new coach.

Virginia Tech and Miami in the ACC alone are looking for new coaches. Other high-profile jobs include the two USCs, Southern Cal and South Carolina, along with Maryland and Illinois.

The window for finding the next man up in the coaching ranks is going to be open just a sliver, and not for very long.

This is in no way to slight London, who is a good man, a solid recruiter, enthusiastic, runs a clean program.

Littlepage has been more than fair to London to give him all the time he could rightfully get to try to get the mess that he inherited from predecessor Al Groh cleaned up.

Not a lot of ADs would have given London a fifth year after the 2-10 debacle in 2013 that ended with a nine-game losing streak. In fact, Littlepage himself didn’t give another UVA coach, Dave Leitao, a fifth year after Leitao’s fourth Virginia hoops team limped home to a 10-18 finish in 2009.

London got a fifth year that ended with a 5-7 record that could have and should have been a lot better, maybe as good as 8-4, if not for a series of late-game blunders that left wins on the field.

His sixth team has regressed from whatever promise last year seemed to offer. The Cavs left another big win on the field in a late loss to #6 Notre Dame in Week 2, then was embarrassed at home two weeks later by Boise State in a 56-14 beatdown.

Since then, Virginia has been competitive in ACC losses to Pitt, UNC, Miami and Louisville, but competitive losses just can’t cut it in year six.

The fair thing for Littlepage to do would be to let London coach out the final two games of the season, to give him one more chance to beat Virginia Tech, against whom he is 0-5 career.

Win that game, go out on a nice note, and then hand the keys over so that the next guy can try to rebuild.

Craig, you’re on the clock.

– Column by Chris Graham


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