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London Says He's The Man For The Job At Virginia

Tuesday, October 22, 2013 7:40pm
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) - Virginia coach Mike London is under fire from fans as the losses pile up.

Virginia (2-5, 0-3 Atlantic Coast Conference) has lost four straight, but London has received votes of confidence in recent weeks from athletics director Craig Littlepage. The AD has said numerous coaching changes need to be given time to turn things around. London replaced his offensive, defensive and special teams coordinators after last season, and hired an associate head coach for offense.

But patience seems to be running out. The Cavaliers have lost 13 of their last 16 games against FBS foes and on Saturday they host Georgia Tech (4-3, 3-2), which beat Virginia 56-20 last year.

Still, London, a former Richmond city police officer, is not backing down from the criticism.

"I believe that I'm the right man for the job," he said this week. "I believe that the process that's going on here is one that, although painstakingly slow, is a process that will be successful."

The support of Littlepage and others is critical.

"I'm very appreciative that the administrators and people that make those types of decisions have the utmost confidence in me," London said this week. "I'm 100 percent committed to winning, to producing a product that's on the field of guys that want to win, to learn how to win. I know how to win."

Some Cavaliers fans are not convinced.

London won the 2008 national championship at Richmond, but has faltered since.

Message boards are overwhelmed with calls for London's dismissal and who the Cavaliers' next coach should be. Fans have increasingly stopped coming to games, and Virginia players have spoken about the fans that do come often turn on the team when games aren't going as they had hoped.

Still, London believes it's crucial for he and the team to look at each Saturday as an opportunity that will turn things around.

"I'm always excited about the challenge that presents itself of whether there's negativity or whatever it may be," he said. "It's embrace the adversity, embrace it, look it in the eye, and tell the players, 'Let's go,' because the only thing you can do is get ready for the next game, get ready for the next challenge. And if they see that in me, if they see that in the coaches, then they have an opportunity themselves to show that when they play on the field and we start moving forward here."