RICHMOND, Va. (AP) Mike London resigned Sunday after failing to guide Virginia to a winning season in five of his six seasons as coach.
Athletic director Craig Littlepage said in a release from the school that he met with London on Sunday morning and both agreed that a change was in the best interest of the program. The move comes less than 24 hours after Virginia (4-8, 3-5 Atlantic Coast Conference) lost 23-20 to state rival Virginia Tech, its 12th consecutive loss in the series. It left London with a 27-46 record at the school.
''During his tenure, Mike created a positive culture for our student-athletes to develop as young men, who improved each year in the classroom and represented us very well in the community,'' Littlepage said in the statement. ''Mike was a tremendous mentor for his players and many of our coaches. His ability to inspire others helped our program establish great relationships among the high school football coaches in the state and he has been a tremendous ambassador for the University.''
London, who was 11-29 against ACC opponents, seemed resigned to his fate after the loss to the Hokies.
''I don't make those decisions but I'm mature enough to know this is the profession we live in,'' he said when asked about his future. ''I'd love to be the head coach of this team if the opportunity is afforded. But I feel proud about what goes on with this program, what I've done. And I hope that character and integrity means a lot. I know W's do as well. But I'm peace with myself right now.''
The Cavaliers finished this year with a road losing streak that has reached 15 games.
Twice an assistant at Virginia under his predecessor, Al Groh, London returned to coach the Cavaliers after two seasons at Richmond, where he led the Spiders to the 2008 FCS national championship in his first season. He was 24-5 with the Spiders, his first head coaching job.
The Cavaliers appeared to be on the road to improvement five years ago, finishing 8-5 and with a loss in the Chick-fil-A Bowl, but failed to follow that up despite gains in recruiting in the ensuing seasons. Part of that was a schedule that routinely had Virginia playing against some of the strongest teams in the nation, but questionable in-game decisions, penalties and quarterback controversies also contributed.
Against the Hokies, Virginia was penalized nine times for 65 yards, and called for a fake punt on a fourth-and-16 play from their own 34 yard-line. Punter Nicholas Conte kept the ball and ran, but was stopped a yard short of the first down, leading to a Hokies field goal.
London also was forced to makeover his staff after his third season, but the new group went just 11-25 over the past three seasons.
Littlepage did not specify a time-frame for naming a successor, noting that some candidates could be involved in postseason play.
''In our search, we will look for a coach who's demonstrated the ability to implement his system and achieved a consistent level of success,'' Littlepage said. ''The coach will have experience recruiting and developing student-athletes who fit his profile for success on the field and in the classroom. We expect our football program to compete for the Coastal Division title on an annual basis, which puts us in a position to win the ACC championship and be competitive nationally. This is consistent with the expectations for each of our sport programs.''
Despite a 5-7 record in football last season, Virginia won men's national championships is soccer, tennis and baseball last season, and for the first time won the Capital One Cup awarded to the athletic program with the best cumulative record across all men's programs.
London's contract runs through 2016. He will be paid approximately $2.7 million through next season.
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