Mike London at Scott Stadium
October 9, 1960 |
West Point, New York
|Coaching career (HC unless noted)|
William & Mary (DL)
Boston College (DL)
Virginia (DL, RC)
Houston Texans (DL)
Virginia (DC, DL)
|Head coaching record|
College Football Data Warehouse
|Accomplishments and honors|
2008 NCAA Division I Football Championship
2009 CAA Co-Championship
AFCA FCS Coach of the Year, 2008
BCA National Coach of the Year, 20081
ACC Coach of the Year, 2011
Mike London (born October 9, 1960) is the head coach of the Virginia Cavaliers football program of the University of Virginia. A native of the Hampton Roads area of Virginia, London played college and pro football as a defensive back for the Richmond Spiders and Dallas Cowboys. He was a police officer and detective in Richmond, Virginia with the city's street crimes unit before pursuing a coaching career.
He has served in various coaching roles with Richmond, William & Mary, Boston College, and Virginia, as well as the Houston Texans. His most notable roles have come as defensive coordinator and now head coach at the University of Virginia, and previously as head coach at the University of Richmond, where his team won the NCAA Division I Football Championship in 2008.
First hired as a linebacker coach at the University of Richmond, Mike London later coached the defensive line at the College of William & Mary, Boston College, the Houston Texans of the National Football League, and the University of Virginia, twice.
London worked closely with St. Louis Rams defensive end Chris Long while he played for the Virginia Cavaliers. In an interview with The Washington Post, Long would later say of London, "when you get a coach who matches your intensity and emotion, you can just look at that person and know that at some level that coach is going to be with you through the thick and the thin."2
In 2006, London was named by Virginia coach Al Groh as the team's new defensive coordinator to replace Al Golden. Virginia's defense under London was much more aggressive than it was under Golden.3 Allowing just 289.5 yards per game, the Virginia defense under London gave up fewer yards than any Virginia defense had in the past 27 years. London developed first year defensive end Jeffrey Fitzgerald, who by the end of the season had more tackles than any freshman in the country.4
The next year his defense was perhaps even better. A highlight of this season was when Virginia was scheduled to play the Miami Hurricanes in the last game ever in the legendary Miami Orange Bowl. The Virginia defense, under the supervision of London, dominated the 'canes and Virginia won, 48–0. It was Miami's worst loss at the Orange Bowl in their 70 years of playing there. The Cavaliers finished the season ranked 6th in the nation in sacks with 40, and allowed the 19th-fewest rushing yards (106.7 yds/game) and the 16th-fewest points against (19.7/game) on the way to a 9-win season and a narrow loss to Texas Tech and Heisman Trophy candidate Michael Crabtree in the Gator Bowl.5 At the end of the season, lineman Chris Long won the Ted Hendricks Award and was drafted second overall in the 2008 NFL Draft.
- 2008 Season
On January 19, 2008, Mike London was named the head coach of the Richmond Spiders. Previous coach Dave Clawson had left to become the offensive coordinator at the University of Tennessee. Sixteen starters returned from a team that Clawson had taken to the semifinals of the FCS Football Championship playoffs. Soon after opening the season with a loss to Football Bowl Subdivision team Virginia 16–0, the team suffered heartbreaking losses to the James Madison Dukes and Villanova Wildcats by a touchdown or less. After the JMU loss, London's team stood at 4–3.
The 2008 Spiders would not lose another game. They rattled off nine straight victories including last-minute heroics against the William & Mary Tribe and Northern Iowa Panthers, a 33–13 dismantling of the heavily favored Appalachian State Mountaineers in Kidd Brewer Stadium, and culminating with a 24–7 blowout victory against the Montana Grizzlies in the NCAA Championship Game. In his first season, the University of Richmond had earned its first National Championship in any sport.
- 2009 Season
On September 5, 2009, Richmond upset the Duke Blue Devils of the Atlantic Coast Conference, 24–16, on their home turf in Wallace Wade Stadium. After beginning the 2009 campaign 8–0 and riding a streak of 17 straight wins, the Richmond Spiders became only the third FCS team ever to receive a vote in the AP Poll (after Northern Iowa in 2007, and Appalachian State later in the same season). Ray Ratto of the San Francisco Chronicle gave the Spiders their AP Top 25 vote for the week of November 2.
The Spiders won the CAA regular season, but lost in the Quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament to Appalachian State. Just two days later, Mike London was announced as head football coach at the University of Virginia on December 7, 2009.
- 2010 Season
Following the termination of Al Groh, London was hired to coach the Virginia Cavaliers and initially awarded a five-year contract paying $1.7 million per year.6 He is the third African-American head football coach in the ACC, behind Wake Forest's Jim Caldwell and Miami's Randy Shannon.7 He is also the second African-American head coach of a major sport at Virginia; the first was former men's basketball coach Dave Leitao.
Following the season, London enjoyed a strong recruiting class, pulling in what is widely regarded as Virginia's best (and largest) recruiting class since Groh's first full season in 2002.9
- 2011 Season
Having finished with a 4–8 overall record and having managed just one win in the ACC the previous season, London orchestrated a turnaround in 2011, taking the team to an 8–4 regular season record and a 5–3 mark in the conference. Signature wins in the 2011 campaign included upsets over previously undefeated and 12th-ranked Georgia Tech, at Miami, and at 23rd-ranked Florida State, at a venue (Doak Campbell Stadium) where UVA had never won. The final regular season game of the year pitted the 24th-ranked Cavaliers against the #5 Virginia Tech Hokies in a battle for not only the Commonwealth Cup, but also for the Coastal Division crown and a chance to play in the ACC championship. UVa lost the game 38–0, suffering its first home shutout since 1984.
Following the regular season, London was named ACC Coach of the Year, receiving 31 votes, ahead of Virginia Tech's Frank Beamer, who received 12 votes, and Clemson's Dabo Swinney, who received two votes.10
His son, Brandon London, is a wide receiver for the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League. His younger brother Paul London played defensive back for Virginia under George Welsh in the early 1990s. His daughter, Kristen London, was a women's basketball player for Debbie Ryan, also at Virginia. He is a member of Phi Beta Sigma fraternity.
|Richmond Spiders (Colonial Athletic Association) (2008–2009)|
|2008||Richmond||13–3||6–2||3rd (South)||W FCS Championship||1||1|
|2009||Richmond||11–2||7–1||1st (South)||L FCS Quarterfinals||4||4|
|Virginia Cavaliers (Atlantic Coast Conference) (2010–present)|
|2011||Virginia||8–5||5–3||T–2nd (Coastal)||L Chick-fil-A|
|National championship Conference title Conference division title|
|#Rankings from final Coaches Poll.
°Rankings from final Sports Network Poll.
- London Named Coach of the Year Over Tomlin
- Carpenter, Les (September 1, 2009). "London's Calling: From Cop to Coach". The Washington Post.
- "London replaces Groh at Virginia". Associated Press via ESPN. 2009-12-09.
- Yanda, Steve (2010-12-02). "Poll: Grading Mike London's first season as Virginia's HC". The Washington Post.
- Kurz, Hank (2011-02-02). "London gets Virginia's biggest class since 2002". Associated Press via USA Today.
- "Virginia's London Named ACC Coach of the Year". November 29, 2011. Retrieved November 29, 2011, publisher=AP via the ACC.
- London's Calling: From Cop to Coach – The Washington Post
- University of Virginia biography – University of Virginia
- Hampton native London to take over at Richmond – Daily Press