Listen closely enough, you wouldn’t have to wait very long between instances of a head coach at a Div. 1-A football program calling for improved facilities as a means of reaching “the next level”. A head coach actually pulling out his own checkbook to improve those facilities?
Of course, unless you’re Mike London.
In a press release sent out Friday morning, Virginia announced that London, its head football coach, has made a $225,000 pledge to support construction of the football program’s new indoor practice facility. For perspective, London made nearly $1.8 million in 2011.
This financial move comes a month or so after London’s name was connected to the Penn State vacancy, a job the coach vehemently denied any interest in. Combine the financial pledge with the verbal one, and it appears London has made a significant and very public commitment to his continued turnaround of the Cavaliers.
“The construction of the indoor practice facility is an important part of the effort to make our football program consistently successful,” London said in a statement. “That’s why I want to show my personal support for the fundraising effort by making this pledge.
“The indoor facility will be a tremendous benefit for our team’s in-season preparation and out-of-season conditioning. It will allow us the opportunity to attract the types of student-athletes to Virginia who will play an important role in the building of the program. I can’t think of a better way to express my commitment to the University and to the football program than to personally make a gift to this important project.”
From the release:
In September, the University of Virginia Board of Visitors approved a plan to build a new 78,000 square foot facility on the site of one of the existing football practice fields adjacent to the McCue Center. Approval from the Board of Visitors allowed the athletics department to move forward with its $13 million fund-raising effort. This effort must be completed by the end of February 2012 in order for construction to begin in time for the facility to be ready for spring practice in 2013. All pledges must be in place before construction can begin.
With London’s pledge, the school has raised nearly $9.5 million of the projected $13 million it will take to construct the facility.
“Coach London’s generosity toward the indoor practice facility makes a very clear point about its importance; this is our top priority,” said Virginia athletic director Craig Littlepage. “The indoor practice facility will get year-round use and I see it as a necessity for our football team. Mike’s gift will continue momentum toward the progress in building the program.”
To be honest, and in what is an utter rarity, I’ve never heard one person say a single bad word about London either on or off the field. I’m guessing I won’t be hearing any negatives in the foreseeable future, either.