AD Says Groh Will Stay at U-Va.

By Adam Kilgore
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, October 16, 2006

The growing number of fans wishing for Al Groh to be dismissed as the coach of the Virginia football team will have to wait at least one year.

"Al will be our head coach," Virginia Athletic Director Craig Littlepage said yesterday in an e-mail when asked if Groh would be the coach next season. "Many believed, given the number of players that were drafted/graduated, that this would be a rebuilding" year.

Groh, in his sixth season at Virginia, has led the Cavaliers to a 2-5 record, their worst start since 1986, when they started 2-6 and finished 3-8. Groh's worst previous season was his first, when Virginia finished 5-7. The latest loss came Saturday, a heartbreaker in which Virginia led 20-0 at halftime before losing, 28-26, to Maryland at home.

Barring a shocking string of upsets, this season will be worse and snap a streak of four straight bowl games for Virginia. The Cavaliers have suffered damaging losses to Mid-American Conference opponent Western Michigan and East Carolina of Conference USA this season.

Groh said in spring practice he expected this season to be a rebuilding process. The Cavaliers had lost starting inside linebackers Kai Parham and Ahmad Brooks, tackle D'Brickashaw Ferguson, quarterback Marques Hagans, running back Wali Lundy, defensive end Brennan Schmidt and a handful of others. Of the players who could be considered stars last season, only defensive end Chris Long and wide receiver Deyon Williams returned.

The dearth of established players has led to abysmal offensive production under first-year offensive coordinator Mike Groh, Al's son. The offense ranks 109th in total yards per game out of 119 Division I-A teams.

Groh is 39-31 at Virginia. The Cavaliers will play North Carolina at home on Thursday night at 7:45 on ESPN.

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