Jan. 5, 2001
By HANK KURZ Jr.
AP Sports Writer
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - The University of Virginia is "a place you belong to forever," Al Groh said Friday, and its football coaching job is the only one that could have pried him from the New York Jets.
Groh, who left the Jets last Saturday after one year as coach, was formally introduced Friday as George Welsh's replacement, and the man expected to lift the Cavaliers into national championship contention. Virginia was 6-6 this season, the first time in 14 years it failed to win seven games.
"I feel very humbled," Groh said at a news conference.
Groh was a defensive end at Virginia in 1965, two decades before Welsh elevated the program to national prominence. He said taking the job was more of a surprise to him than to others.
"While I did not take the counsel of very many people on this, those few that I did all were of the conclusion that this was a great situation for me to come to long before I came to that conclusion," he said.
"This was not something that I anticipated would happen," he added, crediting the determined efforts of athletic director Terry Holland and university president John Casteen III with "reeling me in."
Holland, Casteen and two other members of the administration met with Groh for two hours last Friday at Republic Airport in Farmingdale, N.Y. Groh was offered the job and accepted the following day.
The decision has been widely criticized in New York, where the Jets finished 9-7 after a 6-1 start and lost their last three games when a victory in any one would have clinched a playoff berth.
In the end, Groh's attachment to the school where his son, Mike, was a star quarterback, the fact that much of his family lives here and the opportunity to build Virginia into an elite program brought him home.
"It was a very difficult decision," he said.
"I was fortunate enough to be the coach of the Jets last year. I enjoyed it tremendously, was challenged by it greatly. It was only for this particular opportunity that I would have ever left."
Groh will be involved in all aspects of the team and accountable for all aspects of the team's performance.
"When the team doesn't do well, you know who to blame," he said.
Groh said his philosophy will be the same he's used throughout his coaching career, which included five years at Wake Forest from 1981-86.
"You have to run with authority and power because that brings an element of toughness to your team," he said. He'll also seek a quarterback capable of spreading the field to allow for a wide-open passing attack.
Groh didn't see Virginia play this season. He has spoken to Welsh, however, and plans to meet with him again.
Groh's introduction was greeted with a rousing round of applause from a large gathering of former players, teammates and administrators.
Among them was Chris Slade, a Virginia graduate who played under Groh with the New England Patriots from 1993-96.
"I owe a lot to that guy. That's why I'm here today," Slade said. "He gave me my shot in '93 when I first got into the league. I learned so much not only on the field but also off the field with him."
Groh was moved by the large turnout and warm welcome.
"There's been a lot of elation and excitement about coming back to Charlottesville," he said, "but no chills up the spine until I saw so many of my family, teammates, former players and alumni stand up back there.
"That's the first chill of many, I hope."
Perrantes Searching for AnswersMen's Basketball2/21/17Senior point guard London Perrantes has made only 16 of 58 shots (27.6 percent) from the floor in his past four games, all Virginia losses.'Hoos Savor Latest ITA TitleMen's Tennis2/20/17In men's tennis, Virginia won its sixth ITA National Team Indoors Championship, defending Ohio State 4-1 at the Boar's Head Sports Club.Slumping Cavaliers Look to RegroupMen's Basketball2/19/17No. 14 Virginia (18-8, 8-6) will try to end a three-game losing streak Monday night when ACC rival Miami (18-8, 8-6) visit John Paul Jones Arena.
Director of News Content
A 1985 graduate of UVA, White worked at the Richmond Times-Dispatch until July 2009. He was honored six times as the state's Sportswriter of the Year.
Virginia Adds Two More FBS Transfers to the Fold
Football | 2/21/2017
Virginia football head coach Bronco Mendenhall has added two more FBS transfers to the program.
Jeff White: Cavalier Football Notebook
Football | 2/15/2017
Quarterback Kurt Benkert, who began his college career at East Carolina, learned valuable lessons...
Blanding to be Awarded the MacArthur Award
Football | 2/8/2017
Virginia free safety Quin Blanding will be honored with the General Douglas MacArthur Award for...
Three Cavaliers Earn All-ACC Academic Honors
Football | 2/8/2017
Three Virginia Cavaliers have been named to the 2016 Atlantic Coast Conference All-Academic...
Virginia Football's Signing Day Central
Football | 2/1/2017
Live updates today, including signee bios and highlight videos.
Jeff White: Cavaliers Restock at Running Back
Football | 2/1/2017
Virginia's 2017 recruits include running backs Lamont Atkins, PK Kier and Jamari Peacock. Atkins ...
Six Cavaliers Earn VaSID All-State Recognition
Football | 01/26/2017
Six Virginia football players were named to the 2016 Virginia Sports Information Directors...
Virginia Announces 2017 Football Schedule
Football | 01/24/2017
The Atlantic Coast Conference released the 2017 football schedules for its member institutions...
- Online Stores