Ruffin McNeill: Huge get for Virginia football
That McNeill was even on the market was a big shot of dumb luck. The East Carolina alum had led the Pirates to a 42-34 record in six seasons, taking ECU to four bowls and leading the program to its second-ever 10-win season in 2013.
But in raising expectations with that season, and a 6-1 start and Top 25 ranking in 2014, McNeill worked himself out of a job, with his 2014 team stumbling to an 8-5 finish, and his 2015 squad falling to 5-7 after an early win over Virginia Tech.
ECU, notably, swept UNC and N.C. State in 2013 en route to that 10-3 finish, that McNeill has a two-game winning streak against Carolina, State and Virginia Tech.
His alma mater’s loss is Virginia’s huge get.
McNeill will serve as inside linebackers coach and associate head coach on the staff of new UVA head coach Bronco Mendenhall, who for the most part will preside over a staff that will reassemble in Charlottesville in the hours following their last game wearing BYU blue in the Dec. 19 Las Vegas Bowl.
Former UVA quarterback and NFL alum Marques Hagans is the lone holdover from the staff of the departed Mike London, whose six-year tenure included exactly zero wins against North Carolina and Virginia Tech.
McNeill will bring meaningful experience in game-planning the two Coastal Division rivals, meaningful in the sense that McNeill has game-planned and executed four wins against two teams that Virginia fans haven’t seen their favorites beat in a long, long time.
– Story by Chris Graham