For Mike London, a season of emotional firsts
Much has been made in recent days of Virginia Coach Mike London falling to his knees upon the final whistle of the Cavaliers' 24-19 upset victory Saturday over then-No. 22 Miami. London has been asked several times about that moment -- whether it was a health issue (it wasn't), whether he was taking a moment for prayer (not necessarily, though he certainly was thankful), whether he was overwhelmed by what his team had accomplished (ding! ding! ding!).
As he has demonstrated on multiple occassions publicly and privately since he took over for Al Groh last December, London is a very emotional person. He does not hide his feelings very well, and he has endeared himself to his players because of that. He is not afraid to dance and scream and carry on in celebration when warranted.
This has been -- and will continue to be -- a unique season for London in many regards. Primarily, though, this season offered challenges unlike anything London previously had faced in his coaching career. When he took his first head coaching job at 1-AA Richmond, the Spiders already were in pretty good shape. There was no need for reconstruction there at that time.
So when Richmond thrived under London, claiming a national title in 2008, it was a different kind of success. Those victories took on different meaning to London than did the ones Virginia has tallied this season.
"We talk about a signature win, after playing well and not doing well against USC, and then not playing well (against) Florida State and then Georgia Tech and then there was North Carolina, so people start talking about, 'What's going on with this team?'" London said Wednesday. "And then seeing something like (the win over Miami), just brought all those emotions back out. And that's the way I am, too.
"People say, 'Well act like you've been there.' You know what? I haven't been there. I'm going to continue to be the same person I've always been, and that's just the way it is."