PSU buzz: Did London rebuff a pre-fire call?

Mike London wouldn't have liked it, but the buzz in the stands during the Duke game was all about Penn State courting him.

No matter who first floated the idea (word on the street says ESPN started it), by November 11, the college football web-universe, including fairly reputable sites like the Washington Post and CBS Sports, were crazy with rumors that Penn State had gone hat in hand to London before firing Joe Paterno.

Mike London immediately and angrily denied the rumor (CBS Sports retracted its story just four hours after posting it), but so what? Denying contact with other schools is rule #2 in the college athletic handbook, sandwiched between the rules that consider a coach’s contract just paper with no binding value and that require at least three minor NCAA infractions a year. So UVA and London denied the rumor; what else could they do?

We’d like to believe Mike London bears zero resemblance to Rich Rodriguez or any number of other coaches who flit from team to team like bees. When London said he didn’t talk to Penn State, he might well have been telling the truth, but when it comes to coaches’ switching jobs, even adamant denials are suspect.

“I don't even want to start to get into all that stuff like that," said London. "No, I haven't heard from them, and I don't expect to. ... I can tell you no one [from Penn State] has reached out to me, or talked to me. It's way, way, way, way premature for anyone to credibly think that's the case.”

Are Mike London’s words really any more reassuring than these? “I’m not going to be the Alabama coach”– Nick Saban, who landed two weeks later in Tuscaloosa to chants of “Roll Tide!”

“I just want to get this out of the way; I’m staying"– Now-Maryland-but-then-Wichita State basketball coach Mark Turgeon in 2006 on speculation he would go to a larger school. The next season he was head coach at Texas A&M.

Saban and Turgeon aren't the only NCAA coaches to say they’re staying when they’re leaving. The epic list includes Lane Kiffin, Bobby Petrino, Urban Meyer, Gene Chizik– and perhaps most notably, current Texas Tech coach Tommy Tuberville, who made his famous statement about staying at Ole Miss (“They’ll have to carry me out of here in a pine box”) just two days before he departed for Auburn in the dead of night.

In “The Boy Who Cried Wolf,” Aesop makes no mention of the poor kid who inherits the shepherding job from the ne’er-do-well whose lies led to the decimation of the village flock. Since the wolf ate all the sheep, maybe there was no job to fill, but if indeed there were, how could the new shepherd prove himself not a liar? If a shepherd sees a wolf, he’s going to yell, “wolf.” But if that’s what liars yell, how can anyone trust him?

Perhaps Mike London is the Chris Christie of NCAA football, and when he says he didn’t talk to Penn State and that he wants to stay at UVA as long as possible, he means it. But unfortunately for Mike London, in collegiate athletics, a denial is tantamount to an admission.

So there's really no way the University or London can convince anyone that Penn State didn’t call. Getting mad won’t change that. They should just stay away from statements about pine boxes.
One final note: Really, Floyd Mayweather? Burning money in a club is bad enough, but burning a Benjamin when you’re supposed to be giving a deposition means you were in a club during the day. That’s just pitiful.
Juanita lives on a farm in Charlotte County with her husband, son, and many dogs.

(The original online headline for this story was "Liar, liar? Who believes PSU didn't call London?")

Read more on: mike london


But this isn't your run-of-the-mill coaching vacancy. In this particular case, I think one can credibly believe that Penn State hasn't reached out to any coaching candidates yet. They have much bigger problems, and a whole slew of good reasons to wait a while before they worry about Paterno's replacement.

I think someone in the area floated the idea of London going to Penn State to help their own recruiting scenario. All's fair in love, war and football apparently.

Comparing him to a list of current and former SEC ne'er-do-wells the likes of Lane Kiffin, Bobby Petrino, Urban Meyer, Gene Chizik, and Tommy Tuberville is a pretty big slap in the face to Mike London and probably merits an apology from Ms. Giles. Until I hear differently, I think I'll choose to believe Coach London.

Who cares?

London is not going anywhere............

Wouldn't you have to actually attend the game in order to hear "the buzz in the stands"?

Nah. The buzz was so loud you could hear it in Crozet, Ruckersville and Scottsville.

Avoid sports coverage, Hook. Stick to ratting out Hunter Craig.

ML isn't going anywhere, and this is a non-story.

I would think any coach to consider going to PSU - there would have to be a whole lot of money thrown at them at the moment. Truly, potential players are backing away like flies to a fire now. The damage that has been done will take PSU football years to recover.

Juanita Giles is a shockingly bad sports writer.

It was a recruiting ploy to scare UVa recruits away. Albeit, London would be perfect for the Penn State job. He is a former cop, no nonsense guy, and decent coach. Just what Penn State needs. I see him resurrecting UVa then going to the NFL in a couple of years. I doubt Penn State is reaching out this soon. They will be lucky to have enough money to field an intramural squad much less a football team soon after this all settles.

Let's put it this way: Coach London has far more credibility than Juanita Giles. For her to insinuate that he isn't telling the truth, when her articles are often riddled with falsehoods, is truly laughable.

When was the last time Ms. Giles attended a UVA game? This is a very sorry excuse for a column, and I sure hope you don't pay her Spencer. To call London a liar is simply idiotic. Did you email him> Call him, anything?

He's not going to Penn State because he's not a homo. Every last one of the Athletic Dept. AND the President AND the po-lice chief AND the lezzie "judge" that let SanDOUCHESKY out on bond are queer as a $3 bill. THAT is why it went on as long as it did. None of them could rat out the other. Paterno is another one.

Truth Hurts- you are correct.........perhaps those PSU "dontwannabees" will spread the talent pool around and stack the decks at any number for D-1 teams and change college, albeit NFL farm teams, for next few years.

Please, please, please fire this terrible excuse for a sports writer- she is clearly the very worst thing in this paper.

Get someone who will write about high school or UVa- this woman's tripe is way past it's expiration date

Is the little gal who wrote this article part of the Chville inferiority complex? You know, the same types who think Dave Matthews is the only music around?

Who cares if PSU called? This is just the typical tact of writers who try to latch onto any linkage to create a "seven degrees of separation between x and y" scenario.

I mean, remember the NY Times reporter who admitted a few years ago that he made up sources and wrote false stories in the Times? Remember other reporters who have plagiarized to write articles or who created false sources? Happens often.

So, using this chick's logic, here is my stand:
"We'd all like to believe that Juanita Giles is a credible columnist with opinions based on facts, not innuendo. But buzz around The Corner last Friday was that Giles created sources that did not exist in writing a story about Coach Mike London. In a phone interview with Giles, she angrily denied these reports.

"However, based on what has occurred with several high profile cases that question journalistic credibility (most notably the recent NY Times cases of a reporter making up stories and editors not checking them), any angry denial does not convince this reporter or reassure those cynical of the news business."

Would this gal like it if I published such tripe? Now that she is in the public light by virtue of writing lots of articles with her byline, would she like it if I snooped around Charlotte County to find out bad rumors about her family?

Fact is, media is a lot like sports: as more and more outlets (teams) are created due to technology (expansion), the talent pool of journalists (athletes) dwindles. We are reading rags compared to what existed fifty years ago. "Five hundred channels and nothing to watch."

Love and kisses,

PS: I am surprised The Hook did not create a headline more like: "The Clash: PSU Calling London?"

I didn't see any cause here to berate Juanita Giles. She didn't say anything that wasn't true. Like the truth that you can never count on a denial. She treated it all the way it should be treated -- with some tinge of sarcasm.

To make the case that Mr London is a liar one would think he would deserve the courtesy of some evidence to back up the allegation . The allegation of being a liar is not just a little aside of disbelief in a story but it is the theme of the entire piece based on nothing provided .

again, who cares?

Odd, I was in the stands, at the concession stands, walking through the parking lots and heard absolutely no mention of the Penn State coaching position. Did hear several people comment on the fact that Nebraska had beaten Penn State. If there was so much concern about the rumor, that would have been a perfect time to segue into, "is London going do you think?" Guess it must have been a really low buzz, maybe heard only in the imagination of people who weren't at the game.

IF PSU contacted London they likely called 20 other coaches as well. London isnt going anywhere.
This is a non-story and the Hook knows it.

Juanita -- would you mind clarifying if you were even at the game or not.

There is no story here.
@Percy Kution, with all of those people you know at PSU, you must have had a lot of dates.