Mike London To Be Next Virginia Football Coach

Ben GibsonSenior Analyst IDecember 6, 2009

The coach for the next Virginia football coach may have reached a swift conclusion.

Just one week after announcing the firing of nine-year head coach Al Groh, the Virginia Cavaliers asked for permission to speak with University of Richmond coach and former Virginia assistant Mike London.

Now it is being reported that London has been offered the job.

While London is a Richmond alum and has done a great job in just two seasons as head coach, this seems like an opportunity he simply cannot afford to pass by. Virginia is a BCS program, in a state where he has strong recruiting ties and a school where he and his family have strong connections as well.

Indeed, London seems to be on the verge of becoming the next coach of the University of Virginia and the transition was almost seamless.

London being hired is certainly far from the shock factor Virginia fans had experienced earlier this season when it was announced that Tony Bennett was going to coach the men's basketball team.

After all, most Cavalier fans only had heard of the singer and not the 40-year-old coach who was leading the Washington State Cougars in Pullman, Wa.

We always knew London would get a call, and the fact that the Henrico Citizen is reporting that he already got the offer proves that Virginia got their No. 1 choice.

There are many things to like about Mike London as head coach of Virginia. First and foremost, this guy can recruit. London's ties to the Hampton Roads area helped Virginia get some of the top notch talent it did when he was the defensive coordinator under Groh.

With the right staff, London can help reassert Virginia's recruiting efforts within the Commonwealth and hopefully can bring in some dynamic players on the offensive side of the ball to complement the stout defense.

London has a strong knowledge of the program, understanding how things work at Virginia and how to sell Virginia to football players from all over the country.

In truth though, London's success will be dependent on what he had at Richmond and Virginia has lacked for years: a stable quarterback.

Spider quarterback Eric Ward was an inherited holy grail in the FCS, a playmaking signal caller with ice water in his veins and experience to boot. London was able to take Ward and make him the center piece to Richmond's championship run.

At Virginia, the Cavaliers are desperately seeking a quarterback who can provide the talent and leadership left by former ACC Offensive Player of the Year Matt Schaub.

The inconsistent Jameel Sewell is graduating and with his one-time heir apparent Pete Lalich on the sidelines in Corvallis, OR with the Beavers, that leaves Marc Verica to beat out Ross Metheny and Riko Smalls for the starting spot next season.

Certainly, London's hands will be full with this new challenge if he does decide to take it on. However, he will have the support of the Virginia fanbase. London is a young and energetic guy who can provide a spark to the apathetic program.

The press conference has officially been set for 1 PM this Monday. A new era is going to begin in Virginia football after their London calling. Out of the four offers he had on the table just 24 hours after his Spiders were eliminated from the playoffs, London decided to make a return to his second home.

With a little bit of luck, hopefully it will be his last.