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Cavs great Tiki Barber happy with Mike London hire

From the moment Mike London first appeared publicly after becoming Virginia's head football coach, he made a commitment to opening the doors and reconnecting with the program's past. Former players lined the hallways at London's first news conference, and players have spoken out on his behalf. His coaching staff even includes Shawn Moore, one of the finest players in Virginia history.

In Miami leading up to Sunday's Super Bowl, another former Virginia standout spoke glowingly of London: running back Tiki Barber.

"I think it’s a great hire," Barber said from the Super Bowl. "I think they had grown just a little bit stale there with Al Groh. I don’t know if guys were responding to him any longer.
Mike did great things at the University of Richmond. I don’t know Mike personally, but I played with his brother Paul. I think he’s a great new addition, particularly because he’s an African-American head coach. There aren’t very many in the NCAA. We’re looking for a new infusion of excitement there."

Barber is among the great players in Virginia history from the state of Virginia. London's major emphasis is re-capturing the state, as opposed to former coach Al Groh's national recruiting approach (which also yielded some outstanding players).

"Whether it's 757, 804, 703, 434 -- whatever area code it is -- we're going to try to do the best in those areas," Londons aid.

And that's exactly what the former Virginia players -- Barber included -- want to see.

"That’s really the thing. Back to when I was there, we started to lose players to Virginia Tech at a very fast clip," Barber said. "I think our program suffered a little bit from it. Mike being from the Tidewater area, where there are a ton of great athletes, is going to help our program recruiting-wise and take our program back to the level it was in 97-98, my class and when Matt Schaub’s class was there."

*An assist for the Barber quotes goes to Boston Globe reporter Adam Kilgore, who used to cover U-Va. for The Washington Post.

By Zach Berman  |  February 4, 2010; 1:30 PM ET
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