Groh wins ACC award, gets contract extension

Just months after many an angry Cavalier was calling for his headset, UVA head football coach Al Groh is laughing all the way to both the bank and the trophy case today. Having led his Cavaliers to a 9-3 record overall and a 6-2 record against Atlantic Coast Conference opponents, sportswriters voted Groh the ACC Coach of the Year. The award comes on the same day the Associated Press reports that Groh has signed a one-year contract extension that will keep him stalking the sideline at Scott Stadium through the 2011 season.

In a UVA press release, Groh deflects the credit for the accolades. "This is our team trophy this year," he says. "There have been no individual agendas along the way and that's required a lot of people to be very selfless along the way."

Wearing the orange and blue hasn't always been so comfortable for Groh. After leading his team to a 5-7 record in 2006, many fans had grown nostalgic for the days when predecessor George Welsh could be relied upon to deliver at least seven wins per year (he did so 13 consecutive seasons of his 19-year tenure). Then came the ignominy of being named the "Worst Coach in America" by Sports Illustrated for having had NFL quality talent, but only "a 25-23 ACC record and a whole bunch of Christmas dinners in Charlotte [at the not-so prestigious Continental Tire Bowl] and Boise [at the even-less-prestigious MPC Computers Bowl]," to show for it. So when the Cavaliers got off on the wrong foot in their 2007 campaign with a disappointing 23-3 drubbing at the hands of the Wyoming Cowboys, many expected Groh's head to roll soon.

But, in a matter of two-and-a-half months Groh has gone from zero to hero in Wahoo Nation. After the opening loss, the Cavaliers won their next seven consecutive games, and have finished their regular season as the 22nd best team in the country according to the latest Bowl Championship Series rankings.

With nine wins, a bowl game for the 'Hoos is guaranteed this postseason. Having lost their shot at playing in the FedEx Orange Bowl after falling to Virginia Tech, the Cavs will likely either get an invite to the Champs Sports Bowl (December 28 in Orlando), the Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl (December 31 in Atlanta), or the Konica Minolta Gator Bowl (January 1 in Jacksonville).

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1 comment

His "base salary" and "annual compensation for services" must be way past $2 million dollars a year now. Not bad at all, huh?