December 2, 2012

Slicing and Dicing the Staff

Charlottesville, Va. - Virginia football head coach Mike London announced today four members of the Cavalier coaching staff have been relieved of their duties. Those coaches are associate head coach/defensive coordinator Jim Reid, defensive line coach/recruiting coordinator Jeff Hanson, running backs coach Mike Faragalli and tight ends coach Shawn Moore.

In addition to those moves, London announced safeties coach Anthony Poindexter will no longer be the Cavaliers' special teams coordinator but he will remain on staff.

"After conducting a complete evaluation of the program and discussing my thoughts with administration, there are a number of areas we need to improve on and it starts with me as the head coach." London said. "The decision to release these four coaches is very difficult, but one I feel is necessary in order to meet the goals we have set for the Virginia football program. I have coached with some of these men for many years, won a national championship with some, and I truly appreciate their dedication and commitment, and more importantly, their friendships. I wish them all the best."

All four coaches were members of London's staff since he took over the UVa program in December of 2009. Hanson and Faragalli were also members of London's staff at Richmond during the 2008 and 2009 seasons. The Spiders won the FCS National Championship in 2008. London was an assistant coach on Reid's staff at Richmond during the 1995 and 1996 seasons.

Virginia was Moore's first collegiate coaching position. He was a standout quarterback for the Cavaliers, finishing fourth in the 1990 Heisman Trophy voting.

"My primary task is to continue to evaluate this program and take the necessary steps to make us successful on the field." London said. "This University and its fans deserve a program that competes for championships. In order to do that we need to make improvements in every aspect of our football operation."

Virginia will begin an immediate search to fill all four positions. London did not specify a time frame for concluding the search, taking into account the fact that many of the possible candidates will be involved in postseason play. London said he would make no further comments until the search has been concluded.

Information on Virginia Football Assistant Coach Buyouts
• The total buyout for the four assistant coaches is $1.36 million.
• The coaches will be paid the remainder of their contracts in equal monthly installments until their conclusion.
• The buyout amount for each assistant coach could decrease with future employment.
• The buyout will be funded from Athletics Department funds and it does not receive state funding.

You will be missed, Coach Reid.

My thoughts:

We were all in favor of some shake-up on the staff.  But my assumption was that Faragalli and  Wachenheim would be let go due to crummy o-line play and a shitty running game, with maybe Lazor shown the door due to iffy playcalling.  And then there's Dex, who needed to be reassigned from special teams coordination.

Well, we got the Dex move, and we got Faragalli, but instead of Wach and Lazor, it was Hanson and Reid?  In my opinion, our best Xs and Os position coach and a really good, solid, no-frills defensive coordinator were let go today.  Total head-scratchers.

So now Mike London needs to find a splashy hire at defensive coordinator, or the fans might mutiny.  Also, he needs to replace the veteran influence of two grizzled warriors of the coaching profession.  He has to find a way to rebuild the running game and breathe some life into the offense.  He has to hold together the 2013 recruiting class.  And maybe most importantly, he needs to find someone to lead the special teams and repair the single biggest weakness on the team.

That's a long to-do list.  Is London capable of all that?  The right hires would go a long way, and we'll find out about those soon enough.

Personally, this just feels like shuffling deck chairs on the Titanic.  I'm really worried.  Actually, I feel pretty lost.  B1G or the ACC?  Will the ACC collapse?  And what the HELL is going on with the football team right now?


I hope you have a fucking plan, coach.

Attempting to sort through the wreckage, I'd like to see London take over the defensive line himself.  Or maybe the special teams.  Get back to doing what he does best -- working with the kids.  Hire a grizzled old coaching vet to serve in an associate head coach role and to be someone to help out with general program management and gameday decision-making.  Bring in a defensive coordinator who wants to install an attacking scheme -- Jon Tenut, anyone?  Assign Dex to the role of recruiting coordinator, and let him run that side of the house while coaching something easy, like maybe the running backs.  It sounds like Marques Hagans will be granted a full-time spot on the staff, I'm assuming wide receivers.  I don't love that, as I think we need MORE experience on the staff, not less.  And I wouldn't be shocked to see Jonathan Lewis step into Hanson's vacated role as DL coach.


Better get the right staff together, and quick.  Don't destroy your chance to succeed in your dream job, Coach London.

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