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Mike London's pitch to Cavaliers' inherited players

Virginia football coach Mike London maintained 12 of the former coaching staff's 13 committed players, with the 13th expected to enroll at Virginia after time at a prep school for academics. London credited staff holdovers Anthony Poindexter and Bob Price (who has a new role among the football operations) for maintaining the commitments.

During the two weeks between the time Al Groh was fired and Mike London was hired, Poindexter and Price visited with the committed players and ensured that they remained.

When London arrived, he spoke to each player either in person or over the phone. What was his pitch?

"The message was you choose universities for reasons," London said. "The reasons for these young men were the academic opportunities, the atmosphere here at the school, great college campus. You walk around on Grounds and you see it's historic. The facilities are very eye-pleasing.

"Then you add that to the staff, the guys that I hired, 'cause they had a chance to go out and visit with them, go into the homes. I had a chance to talk to them on the telephone, visit with them out at their schools. It kind of reiterated and bolstered all those decisions why they chose it in the first place."

But London made no secret that this season's class was as much about rescuing what was there as adding what remained available upon taking over. Nonetheless, the former staff committed to Groh and the former coaching staff. Some have publicly embraced London -- and all were pleased enough to maintain their commitments -- but the process of the players getting to know London and London learning about the players remains.

"It's very true that players choose personalities - they choose coaches," London said. "But I think in this situation I'm grateful they chose the University. We just had to add up to it. They liked the fact it had a new staff here, new energy, new focus on things. I think it made it very appealing to them to stay with their commitment."

By Zach Berman  |  February 5, 2010; 1:30 PM ET
 
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