The University of Virginia announced on Friday morning that legendary former UVA football coach George Welsh passed away peacefully on Wednesday at the age of 85. His stature and regard within the Commonwealth can’t be overstated after his resurrection of the football team at the state’s flagship university, a two-decade run of unprecedented success.
Fans, coaches, former players, and media all paid tribute to Welsh on Twitter throughout the morning.
George Welsh was 95% the coach that Joe Paterno was, with 175% of the integrity.— RMJ=H (@rmj_equals_hero) January 4, 2019
I am saddened to hear that Coach Welsh passed away this week. My condolences go out to his family. He was a true pioneer for UVA football and provided the model of success we are working hard to replicate. We will miss his frequent visits to the football offices.— Bronco Mendenhall (@UVACoachBronco) January 4, 2019
Big Momma truly loved Coach Welsh. He can once again sit on her good with the plastic, as he did when he visited our house during a recruiting visit.— Ahmad Hawkins (@IAmBallHawk) January 4, 2019
A man who spoke very few words but impacted so many lives. Although I never got to play for you coach, thank you for being the first to believe I could play QB on the college level. We’ll miss you coach Welsh‼️ Rest In Peace https://t.co/rpm9wzsKtP— Marques Hagans (@coachmhagans) January 4, 2019
One of the sport’s best turnaround artists.— Bill Connelly (@SBN_BillC) January 4, 2019
Navy was horrid in the 1960s and early-70s, and he got them to 3 bowls.
UVA had 1 ranked finish *ever* before he got there, and he did it 6 times. Got ‘em to #1 in 1990. https://t.co/waxwwlA0Mc
It was so difficult for him to open his first Virginia season at the Naval Academy, the place that had shaped his life. And it was so strange to learn that the Mids prepared for the game by watching film of themselves. https://t.co/DBbCgUWqbv— Malcolm Moran (@malcolm_moran) January 4, 2019
No words can properly express what George Welsh meant to UVa and Wahoo fans. I mean he was UVa football. Took a moribund program to #1 in the country and made a generation of folks Hoos for life. Incredibly sad day https://t.co/MaGJymCFCO— Tucker Martin (@jtuckermartin) January 4, 2019
Just heard the news on George Welsh. Not sure it is possible to understand the remarkable turnarounds he engineered at both Navy and Virginia. First football game I ever covered for The Post was Navy at UConn. George went out of his way to make me comfortable postgame.— John Feinstein (@JFeinsteinBooks) January 4, 2019
Had the pleasure of a brief conversation with Coach Welsh while in grad school. First words to me were: “So, I hear you like the Heels. What about the Hokies?” He grinned when I told him “Despise them and being a Hoo is growing on me.” RIP Coach Welsh.— Steve Crute (@NCAngelsfan) January 4, 2019
The man who first noticed a young kid from Newport News, Va and extended an opportunity for me to better myself & my future. This one hurts. Rest In Paradise Coach https://t.co/OAxf7S1oHx— Elton Brown (@coacheltonbrown) January 4, 2019
I’m saddened to learn of the passing of a great man, my UVA Football head coach, George Welsh— Tiki Barber (@TikiBarber) January 4, 2019
He had his quirks that that would make us laugh, but he was such a strong teacher and motivator, and always got the best out of us.
Rest In Peace, coach @UVAFootball
"He's the person who elevated Virginia football to the level where the expectations were that we should win." Former #UVa football coach Al Groh on George Welsh, who died Wednesday at the age of 85.— Ron Counts (@Ron_CDPsports) January 4, 2019
My thoughts and prayers are with Kate, Duffy, Matt, Adam and the Welsh Family. I cherished the opportunity to visit with Coach about UVA football. I asked a ton of questions and he graciously answered all of them. He was always willing to help. RIP Coach. https://t.co/JJSETUtWPs— Carla G. Williams (@ADWilliamsUVA) January 4, 2019
“[Coach Welsh] would throw anybody out of practice, including Tiki Barber, anybody. Once, he threw both teams and the coaching staff off the field and made them stand on the sidelines." - former Welsh assistant Danny Wilmer— UVA Football (@HoosFootball) January 4, 2019
“His outward appearance made it seem like he was an unapproachable kind of guy, but coach had a big heart for his players, and he always had our best interest in mind.” Former #UVa safety Anthony Poindexter on George Welsh, who died Wednesday at the age of 85.— Ron Counts (@Ron_CDPsports) January 4, 2019
Deeply saddened to hear the news of the passing of George Welsh. He came to Appalachia VA, sat in my living room and told me I would play as a true freshman and he would give me every opportunity to make it to the NFL. The best coach I've ever played for. Rest well Coach Welsh. https://t.co/HpKPJclftB— Thomas Q. Jones (@thomasqjones) January 4, 2019