Al Groh's Future with Virginia Cavaliers Still in Doubt

Ben GibsonSenior Analyst IDecember 5, 2008

Will he stay or will he go now?

It's a question that never actually seemed to be that complicated when it came to the future of Virginia football coach Al Groh.

Groh appeared halfway out the door with a 1-3 start only to turn it around in October and lose the last four games of the season to avoid bowl eligibility.

However, the 4-0 record in October and a bad economy mixed with so much coaching turmoil nationwide seemed to create a recipe for one more year for Mr. Orange Sweatshirt on the sidelines.

Virginia Athletic Director Craig Littlepage announced last month that he intended to keep Al Groh, but apparently that does not guarantee that Groh feels the same way.

With news coming this weekend that Littlepage was not going to exercise the opportunity to rollover Groh's contract for an extra season (essentially making a three-year deal a four-year deal) it appeared no one was satisfied with this result.

A majority of fans appear ready to cut ties completely with their alum saying that eight years is enough.

Groh was unhappy too with the decision, upset that this lack of extension hurt recruiting.

So now what appeared to be a resolved situation is anything but that. The elder Groh feels unfairly attacked by his fan-base and also seems to be going to the mat for his son.

Mike Groh, who used to be known simply as the starting quarterback who helped take down FSU in 1995, is now known as the offensive coordinator whose offense has not been ranked in the top 100 in any of his full three seasons at the helm.

Littlepage, like most Virginia fans, appear to want the son gone whose unexpected hiring had many fans wondering if Groh had not learned from Bobby Bowden and his own case of nepotism.

When Bobby decided to put his son at offensive coordinator his team suffered one of the worst stretches since he has been at the school.

Despite the fact that Bowden is a Hall of Fame coach fighting tooth and nail with Joe Paterno for the most wins in Division I, the angered fans raised their voices.

Even with a championship in his pocket, fans struck back against this bad decision with "for sale" signs on his lawn.

Groh, who has zero trophies to his credit at Virginia, has very little good will left with the Cavalier faithful.

He has steadfastly refused to talk about his son or his apparent inability to run an offense, calling such questions divisive.

I would have to say the only division between fans is whether Groh should go now or if he should get one more year with an actual offensive coordinator.

The future of Virginia football appears in flux and Groh truly has no one to blame but himself.

His record is not awful, but his attitude has become unbearable to Virginia fans. 

Much like Bill Belichick's other coordinators like Charlie Weis and Romeo Crennel, the men possess the arrogance without the results.

It was Groh who wanted to change the culture of Virginia football.  He wanted a marching band, he wanted a "Sea of Orange," he wanted to make Scott Stadium a tough place to play.

It succeeded for awhile but now the change must come from Groh if Virginia is to get back on track for the future.

I made a little list for you Al:

  • Get Vic Hall on offense.
  • Get Mike Groh out.
  • Beat Virginia Tech.

The 2009 season will either be a new start or a sad ending to the Al Groh era. The decision is now up to him.