Virginia's Mike London is returning as head coach of the Cavaliers next season, the University announced yesterday. The fan base appears to have mixed reactions to the news, with some infuriated that we're comparing success based on improvement from last year's abysmal 2-10 season, while others are relieved to see continuity and a second or third opportunity for the personable coach.
Here are three things that the announcement does -- or doesn't -- mean.
1. Effective immediately, Wahoo Nation is 100% behind this team again.
Before you bite my head off on this first point, let me be clear: no one was rooting against the team outright. But there's a not-insignificant faction of Wahoo Nation who wasn't losing any sleep if Virginia lost, because it meant that they were just one loss closer to the goal of replacing Coach London. With that officially off the table, we welcome back the undivided support of Wahoo Nation as the Hoos take on the Hokies in a winner-take-all, loser-stays-home showdown.
2. The leash is getting shorter.
By announcing that London will stick around next year, the unspoken message, of course, is that London's contract is not being extended (could you imagine if it were?). His contract is currently set to expire in December of 2016, which gives him just two years of life left in Charlottesville, unless he's able to turn the program around in a pretty dramatic fashion, which, given the caliber of talent he's bringing in year in, year out, is entirely possible. London gets approximately $2.3 million a year, so a buyout this year would have been approximately $5.6 million. If the University decides that next year is his last year, they can surely find $2.3 million lying around for a buyout without too much alumni outcry. In any event, with only two years left, London's going to have to work doubly hard.
3. This doesn't mean there won't be a shake-up.
It was only two years ago that London revamped his staff by hiring Offensive Coordinator Steve Fairchild, Defensive Coordinator Jon Tenuta, and Associate Head Coach Tom O'Brien. Fairchild was only on a two-year contract, which means coming up in January, his term will be through. Same goes for Tom O'Brien. Among the Virginia fanbase, the sentiment of course is that Fairchild's play-calling is at the bottom of much of the Hoos' offensive woes, and the fans are unclear as to what exactly O'Brien has brought to the table. Tenuta, on the other hand, was signed to a five-year contract, and all signs point to him being retained, as Virginia's defense has been a beacon of comfort for fans this season. So, what happens at the OC and associate HC positions following this year? Can the "system" handle another revamp, and if so, does that affect how London is to be measured next year? Can an OC be expected to turn an offense around overnight?
What do you think about the announcement? Does it affect how you're assessing the team this year (and next)? If there indeed will be some sort of staff shake-up like many are expected, who's in and who's out?