Dec. 30, 2000
Charlottesville, Va. -
Al Groh, head coach of the New York Jets and a University of Virginia alumnus, today was named head football coach at his alma mater. He will be formally introduced at a press conference Jan. 5 in Charlottesville, U.Va. athletics director Terry Holland said.
He will succeed George Welsh, who is retiring after 19 seasons as Virginia's head coach. Welsh is widely credited for building Virginia football from a struggling program that had never played in a bowl game to one that ranks among the nation's best, both in consistency of winning seasons and in its players' graduation rate.
Groh, who agreed to a seven-year contract effective January 1, will receive a base salary of $200,000. With stipends for product endorsements and radio and television appearances, his first-year compensation will be $765,000.
"Al Groh is a perfect fit for the University and for its football program," said U.Va. President John T. Casteen III. "In addition to his undisputed success as a coach, he is well-known for emphasizing sportsmanship, academic success, and a strong work ethic. We welcome him and his family back to Charlottesville with great enthusiasm."
"Coach Groh has enjoyed success at every level of football and certainly understands and embraces the challenge of building on the foundation laid by Coach Welsh," Holland said. "His vision for the future of Virginia football that he described to us last night was inspiring. We are delighted that he has agreed to come home to the University of Virginia."
A well-respected veteran coach in the National Football League, Groh, 56, has been with the Jets for four years, the last year as head coach. He previously was defensive coordinator and/or linebackers coach for the New England Patriots (1993-96), the Cleveland Browns (1992), and the New York Giants (1989-91), and special teams and tight ends coach for the Atlanta Falcons (1987).
His collegiate coaching experience includes three years at Virginia, where he was the head freshman coach from 1970 to 1972 and defensive line coach for the latter two seasons. He also has coached at Army, North Carolina, Air Force, Texas Tech, Wake Forest and South Carolina.
At Wake Forest, where he was head coach from 1981 to 1986, he was known as a dedicated mentor to his players, fourteen of whom went on to careers in the NFL.
"I think teaching is what I do best," he has said. "I've always taken a lot of pride in my ability to communicate with players and to tell them in an honest and straightforward manner what they need to do to get better."
A 1967 graduate of U.Va.'s McIntire School of Commerce, Groh was a member of the varsity football team from 1963-65, lettering at defensive end in 1965. He also lettered as a defenseman for the lacrosse team at UVa. He and his wife, Anne, are the parents of two sons and a daughter, Ashley Anne. His oldest son, Mike, was the starting quarterback at UVa in 1994 and 1995, and Matthew is currently a quarterback at Princeton.