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London's name kept popping up

There's been some questions about how quickly the Mike London hire took place and whether the research was conducted during the season.

The answer, of course, is yes. This is not to say that Virginia had designs to fire Al Groh before the season started, but that a short list exists at almost any school with any athletic director. London had been on that list for some time.

"We're always primed with understanding what our short list is going to be," Executive Associate Athletic Director Jon Oliver said. "We did a lot of research over the fall. We understood when we created our list, we spent a lot of time verifying what we know, talking to people on the outside. That's what you do during that time frame, because you don't know if you're going to have to make a change, and you're always going to have to know, whether a guy takes a better job or you have to change your situation, you do that work throughout the fall. It became very clear that Mike London was a guy that had to be at the top of the list."

Once a decision was made with Groh and it became clear London was the target, the discussion started to change.

"Can we close on him?" Oliver identified as a prime discussion piece. "We were prepared to wait as long as it take. This guy could have been playing until December 19. ... We knew who we wanted. Now, if it turned out he didn't want the job or if he took the job, were we prepared to go next? Yeah, we would have done that. But we knew who we wanted, and I think we got focused early on."

The risk is always that there's another job, or the coach could wait until year to look at the job market. For example, had London taken the Boston College job last season, would he have been available to the Cavaliers this season? Despite his division I-AA background, London was a recognizable name to athletic directors.

"I know for the last four or five years that Mike is someone whose name was on the minds of many athletic directors and conference commissioners," Athletic Director Craig Littlepage said. "So the fact that he's been here, we've been blessed to know his work in the two stints that he was here at the University to hear others talk about him that have had long success in college football that know the kinds of things that make successful college coaches."

Although there are not too many openings this season, Oliver said that was not of much concern to the Cavaliers because they knew all about London.

"We saw that first hand," said Oliver, citing many of London's qualities. "Then, you just need to verify in his Richmond job, how has he progressed as a CEO of a program, because that's the part we weren't as familiar with. All the reports we got from that regard was positive, so it became very easy. As soon as we got the opportunity to talk to him, we said this is the guy we have to talk to find out, is this everything we think he is? That's what we did [Sunday], and we got it done."

By Zach Berman  |  December 9, 2009; 12:17 PM ET
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Zach-nice write-up. Thanks for the insights.

Posted by: Towson_Tiger | December 9, 2009 11:24 PM | Report abuse

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