Is Mike London's Bridge Falling Down?
By Zack Shelby
After four seasons as the head coach at the University of Virginia, Mike London finds himself at the crossroads of his marriage with the Cavaliers.
Since taking over for predecessor Al Groh before the 2010 season, London has managed just one winning season. In 2011, he led the Wahoos to an 8-4 (5-3 ACC) mark and was voted the ACC coach of the year. UVA defeated Georgia Tech and Miami during that season, and most impressively, the Cavaliers scored its first-ever victory at Florida State.
Since then, the program has fallen on hard times. In 2012, UVA regressed back to the same 4-8 record it posted in London's inaugural season of 2010. The Cavaliers sunk even further in 2013, posting just two wins — none against ACC opponents. The final straw was its 10th straight defeat at the hands of in-state rival Virginia Tech.
London now enters his fifth and final season of a five-year, $1.7 million-per-year contract. If he expects to coach in Charlottesville beyond 2014, he will have to find some semblance of the magic displayed in 2011. He is that prototypical coach on the hot seat.
However, UVA's future isn't without hope. The Cavs scored a Top 40 recruiting class in 2014 headed by a pair of five-star recruits — defensive tackle Andrew Brown and defensive back Quin Blanding. The program also landed several four-star recruits on offense that should help an attack that was held under 20 points in half of its games in 2013.
While there is reason for optimism for UVA's program, the question remains whether or not London will be a part of it. Though he had a solid recruiting class, it remains to be seen how much he realistically can expect to get out of that talent in their first year. If he doesn't satisfy athletic director Craig Littlepage, it might be London's replacement that reaps the benefit of the formidable class he was largely responsible for putting together.