Wednesday, December 10, 2008

YOU CAN STAY, BUT YOUR KID’S GOTTA G(R)O(H)

According to ESPN, Al Groh will be back for a ninth season as the football coach at Virginia, but his son Mike, the offensive coordinator the past three seasons, will not. (Mama Groh’s not gonna be happy about this…)

Mike Groh was among three assistant coaches who resigned in a shakeup brought on by his father's annual review, Al Groh said in a statement Monday. He said assistant head coach and defensive backs coach Steve Bernstein would retire and defensive line coach Levern Belin intended to pursue other opportunities.

A former quarterback for the Cavaliers, the younger Groh started as the wide receivers coach at Virginia before switching to quarterbacks in 2003. He drew praise for his role in the development of Matt Schaub and Marques Hagans, the two best quarterbacks at Virginia in the Groh era, but found it harder to come by after he was elevated to coordinator in 2005 when Ron Prince left to coach Kansas State.

The Cavaliers finally settled on freshman Jameel Sewell as their quarterback two seasons ago, and thosee two seasons leading up to this year were focused largely on Sewell's development. That plan backfired when Sewell was academically ineligible this season, and his backup, Peter Lalich, was eventually dismissed from the team.

Marc Verica eventually took over the position after three games and showed flashes of potential, but he also wound up leading the Atlantic Coast Conference with 16 interceptions. (All of which were, no doubt, Mike Groh’s fault.)

WHAT HE SAID: "There are no scapegoats here," Al Groh said in the statement after commending the coaches for their commitment to the university. "The head coach is responsible for the team."

WHAT HE MEANT: “I’ll help you get a new job, but somebody’s gotta take the fall. By the way, would you mind breaking the news to your mother?”

(Photo courtesy of Mrs. Groh)

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