Virginia Cavaliers football

Virginia Cavaliers football
2016 Virginia Cavaliers football team
First season 1888
Athletic director Craig Littlepage
Head coach Bronco Mendenhall
1st year, 210 (.167)
Other staff Robert Anae (OC)
Nick Howell (DC)
Stadium Scott Stadium
Seating capacity 61,500
Field surface Grass
Location Charlottesville, Virginia
Conference ACC
Division Coastal
All-time record 64358648 (.522)
Bowl record 7110 (.389)
Conference titles SAIAA: 1908
ACC: Shared - None outright 1989, 1995
Consensus All-Americans 11
Current uniform
Colors Navy blue and Orange[1]
Mascot Cavalier (CavMan)
Marching band Cavalier Marching Band
Rivals North Carolina
University of Richmond Virginia Tech

The Virginia Cavaliers football team represents the University of Virginia in the sport of American football. The Cavaliers compete in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and the Coastal Division of the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC). Established in 1888, playing local YMCA teams and other state teams without pads, the Virginia football program has evolved into a multimillion-dollar operation that plays in front of 61,500 fans at Scott Stadium in Charlottesville, Virginia. Starting in the early 1900s, the program has played an outsized role in the shaping of the modern game's ethics and eligibility rules.[2]

Three traditional rivals—North Carolina, Virginia Tech, and Maryland—have all played the Cavaliers more times than any other among their chief rivals. One of the country's longest series is the South's Oldest Rivalry between Virginia and North Carolina, which is a slightly shorter series than the Deep South's Oldest Rivalry between Georgia and Auburn by about eight months. However, Virginia and North Carolina have played 121 games against each other, whereas Georgia and Auburn have played 120. The Cavaliers also "compete" for the Commonwealth Cup against in-state rival Virginia Tech, although they are currently 3-18 in Commonwealth Cup games, so it's not much of a competition. Both the Heels and Hokies play in the Coastal Division of the ACC alongside the Cavaliers.

The Virginia football program showed sparks of excellence during the eras of George Welsh (being ranked AP #1 for three weeks in 1990 just before losing their last 3 games of the season) and Arthur Guepe (briefly reaching the rank of AP #9 twice in 1949 and 1952), but the program is often regarded as the "missing link" from the overall men's sports dominance that the University of Virginia has shown in recent years en route to winning its first Capital One Cup in 2015. The previous winners of the Cup (Notre Dame, UCLA, and Florida) have enjoyed far greater football successes.

Part of this relative lack of success can be attributed to President Colgate Darden's de-emphasis of football after the 1952 season, leading the program to turn down an invitation to the 1953 Cotton Bowl Classic against the Texas Longhorns in the first televised football game. Most significantly, Darden also reduced the number of football scholarships by 80% relative to competing teams when joining the Atlantic Coast Conference later that year, leading Art Guepe to resign and coach Vanderbilt. While future Presidents would allow the same number of scholarships as its rivals after Darden retired in 1959, Virginia would remain a shadow of its former football self until the 1981 hiring of Welsh some twenty-two years later.

With these setbacks, Virginia football is a distant second to Virginia Tech in the state of Virginia, having lost 13 games in a row. UVA also has a Nike contract paying $3.5 million per year that is also significantly more lucrative than a similar agreement with its in-state rival.[3]

Conference affiliations


Beginnings (1800s)

Former University of Virginia President Edwin Alderman

The story of football at UVA actually begins in the fall of 1886, when two graduate students at the University, former Yale student Charles Willcox who was attending medical school at UVA,[4] and former Princeton student, Richard Reid Rogers[5] who matriculated to the law school, introduced the sport at Mr. Jefferson's University. After seeing the success of Princeton and Yale during their undergraduate careers, these two men brought a wealth of knowledge about this burgeoning sport to an area of the country that had no college football teams: the South.[5]

Students at UVA were playing pickup games of the kicking-style of football as early as 1870, and some accounts even claim that some industrious ones organized a game against Washington and Lee College in 1871, just two years after Rutgers and Princeton's historic first game in 1869. But no record has been found of the score of this contest. There is record of a game between Washington & Lee and VMI in 1873, the first such game in the south. In 1874, University students were introduced to the sport of rugby when they played to a scoreless tie against a team of Englishmen from Albemarle County. Eight years later, in November 1883, a football club was reorganized, a constitution drawn up, and officers elected. 75 men competed against one another, but not against another collegiate club.[5] The University Magazine describes how "pluck is cultivated by throttling one's competitor and violently throwing him to the ground."[6]

Finally, in the fall of 1887, Willcox and Reid, after garnering interest in their fellow students throughout the year, helped Virginia put its first regularly organized team in the field. But in these early days they had had no one to play. Fortunately, Pantops Academy, a boys' school founded just up the road from the UVA Grounds, agreed to a game on November 13, 1887. After playing to a scoreless tie, a rematch was scheduled for March 1888. The historic first touchdown was scored by quarterback Herbert Barry and the University won 26–0.[7]

The following season, on December 8, 1888, UVA would play their first intercollegiate game, a 26–0 loss to Johns Hopkins. The loss did not dampen their enthusiasm for the sport. Virginia returned the favor with a 58–0 drubbing of Hopkins the following season when they went 4–2, with a 180–4 margin in its victories and two close losses to an eight-win Lehigh team and Navy.[8]

First championships

The 1889, 1890, 1892, 1893, 1894, 1895, 1896, and 1897 teams all claim Southern championships. The 1160 drubbing by Princeton in 1890 signaled football's arrival in the south.[9][10] The South's Oldest Rivalry started in 1892, when Virginia split games with North Carolina. The 1897 team had a scoreless tie with Vanderbilt in a game billed as the championship of the South.

William Lambeth

Serving as early as 1892, the school's first athletic director was William Lambeth, a medical professor at the university, and one of the participants in the major rules committees that were enacted to make football a safer sport. The trend was not welcome in all corners, however, according to University historian Philip Alexander Bruce, who wrote disparagingly of the arrival of "professional athletes in disguise" from all over the country. School President Edwin Alderman, though a tireless proponent of college football, was significantly alarmed to appoint an investigating committee in 1904, and a strict athletic code was written in 1906.[11]

Coaching Carousel of 19001915

Between 1900 and 1915 Virginia saw coaches change 10 times and achieve 10 winning seasons with help from the likes of tackle John Loyd, fullback Bradley Walker, quarterback Robert Kent Gooch and the South's first consensus All-American in halfback Eugene N. "Buck" Mayer. The 1900, 1901, 1902, 1908, 1914, and 1915 teams claim Southern championships.

In 1900 the team gave the Sewanee Tigers its first loss since 1897. The team's captain was tackle John Loyd. Virginia lost to Pop Warner's Carlisle Indians. Bradley Walker, later a Nashville attorney and prominent referee, once grabbed Hawley Pierce, Carlisle's biggest player, and carried him ten yards with him dangling over his shoulder.[12][13]

Work began in 1901 on 21-acre (85,000 m2) Lambeth Field, propelling sports development at UVA.Along with Walker, the 1901 team featured several prominent players, including Christie Benet, later a United States Senator for South Carolina, Robert M. Coleman, Buck Harris, and Ed Tutwiler, a transfer from Alabama and the son of Edward Magruder Tutwiler. The 1901 team defeated Gallaudet, but lost to Georgetown, and so both Gallaudet and Virginia claim titles. The 1902 team beat Carlisle.

In 1905, Virginia lost to VPI for the first time, in Hunter Carpenter's senior year. The 1908 team suffered a single scoreless tie to Sewanee.

1912 featured Virginia in the inaugural South Atlantic Intercollegiate Athletic Association (SAIAA) season. Season tickets were $7.50 for students and $9.50 for alumni when 8,000-seat Lambeth Stadium opened in 1913, with a price tag of $35,000. The season began with three home shutout victories for Virginia, followed later in the season by a home game with Vanderbilt that was billed as The Football Classic of the South. Trainloads of alumni rolled into Charlottesville to watch Virginia crush the Commodores, 34–0, at Lambeth's dedication.

The Rotunda

For years hence, it was traditional to designate "a greatest home game" each season. In 1914, it was Georgia—a "Rally 'Round the Rotunda" won by UVA, 28–0, in a drizzle, as Robert Kent Gooch "general-led his men with rare ability," the Alumni News gushed. Betting was heavy on Yale for a 1915 game that ranked as the biggest all-time win at that stage of Virginia's history. No Southern team had ever defeated the Ivy League power until Virginia—led by quarterback Norborne Berkeley and Buck Mayer—won 10–0 in New Haven. Headlines in the Charlottesville Daily Progress read, "Yale Bowl a Soup Tureen—Virginia Eleven Serves Dish of Bulldog Stew!"[14] The 1915 Virginia team was also the only team to beat the "point-a-minute" Commodores. The season's only loss was 9–0 on the road at Harvard. Harvard's only loss was to national champion Cornell. halfback Eugene N. "Buck" Mayer was the South's first consensus All-American.


The University's first-ever losing football season occurred the next year, including a 61–3 payback at Yale. "Played them too early in the season," moaned a 1916 Alumni News. Questions about the role of athletics were cast aside in 1917, dwarfed by a larger battlefront now known as World War I. Athletics were curtailed in 1917 and 1918 "in an effort to adapt this University to the stern necessities of a people at war," according to the Corks & Curls.[15]

The war ended, enrollment began to rebuild, and football practice resumed in 1919 with only two lettermen. "All Trains Lead to Charlottesville!" proclaimed posters promoting the "Great Post War Gathering of Virginia Alumni" for the November 15, 1919, home game with Vanderbilt. UVA lost, 10–6, and dropped the traditional Thanksgiving Day game with North Carolina to finish the "start-up" season at 2–5–2.

UVA vs. Vandy, 1919

In December 1919, Dr. Rice Warren was hired as coach in 1920. Warren led the 1920 squad to a 5–2–2 record. UVA also joined the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association in 1920, but left with many SIAA teams to form the Southern Conference in 1921. Rice Warren's tenure ended before the 1922 season, and new coach Thomas Campbell guided the team to a 4–4–1 record—not so mediocre considering the '21 team had managed only three points in its final four games.

Beginning of the Cavaliers

University teams became the Virginia Cavaliers around 1923, and the leader of the first "official Cavs" was Earle "Greasy" Neale. Although his 1923 record was 3–5–1, his teams enjoyed winning records from 1924–27 before falling to 2–6–1 in 1928. Student indifference ran high, participation ran low, and Neale resigned after the 1928 season.

Earl Abell took the football reins for two years in the midst of another athletic department reshuffle. The position of athletic director was created, and James G. Driver — a three-year letterman at UVA — was named Athletic Director.

Lambeth Field was outgrown by the spring of 1930, as varsity and first-year teams in football, baseball, track, and lacrosse attempted to practice there. UVA historian Virginius Dabney related that spring football workouts were stopped due to the javelins and discus throwers.[16]

New stadium

The University began negotiating to obtain land for a new sports site, and plans were finalized for Scott Stadium to open in October 1931. Land for practice fields between Ivy Road and the C&O Railroad tracks also was acquired.

Scott Stadium

Support for UVA football had become spasmodic—even fraternity brothers were betting openly against the Cavaliers—around 1930, but in 1931, a dynamic new coach named Fred Dawson buoyed spirits. Losing seasons and a lack of athletic scholarships took a toll on Dawson's enthusiasm, however, and he quit after 1933 and was succeeded by Gus Tebell.

Just as frustrated at the dearth of notable wins was University President Edwin Anderson Alderman, who impaneled a committee to study the situation. Virginia decided in 1936 to resign from the Southern Conference, which prohibited players from being paid, in order to be able to offer sports scholarships.

Tebell bowed out after three losing seasons, succeeded in 1937 by Frank Murray. Although the Cavaliers went 2–7 during Murray's first year, the team produced a state championship and near hysteria in the student body in 1938 with a 4–4–1 record.

WWII years

The 1940s were a time of mixed success for the Cavaliers—largely thanks to the large numbers of students who served in the armed forces—but it was also known as the era of "Bullet Bill." William McGarvey Dudley, a 168-pounder from Bluefield, Virginia, is often called the best ever to wear a Virginia uniform. Dudley, who wore jersey number 35, ran, passed, kicked, blocked, tackled, and intercepted his way to All America honors.

Under Murray, the 1940 team—running out of a T-formation—went 4–5, but improved to 8–1 in 1941, the only loss a 21–19 upset at Yale. In his final game as a Cavalier, Dudley scored 22 points at North Carolina in a Thanksgiving classic broadcast nationally. After a 28–7 UVA win, his teammates carried him off the field. Dudley finished fifth in the 1941 Heisman Trophy balloting. Murray's 1942 squad dropped to 2–6–1, having lost 29 players to graduation and "scholarshipping for Uncle Sam."

Until the war ended in 1945, UVA football functioned with makeshift teams—guest stars from other schools enrolled in the University's military units and were thus eligible to play. In spite of a 7–2 season, Frank Murray left, succeeded in 1946 by Art Guepe, who coached seven years with a winning record.

Post-war years

In 1947, Virginia defeated Harvard, 47–0, with a team that featured John Papit, George Neff, and Bob "Rock" Weir. The game was significant because UVA was facing its first-ever black player—Harvard's Chester Pierce.[17] The gridiron success of the late 1940s continued into the early 1950s, as Guepe teams—with Papit, Joe Palumbo, and Tom Scott winning All-America honors—lost only five games from 1950 through 1952. Virginia routinely finished ranked in the top ten schools in the country.

The Guepe years ended after the 1952 season, when the coach was wooed away by Vanderbilt in the wake of University President Colgate Darden's refusal to allow Virginia to participate in any postseason football play. Virginia had just escaped being banned permanently from the NCAA for granting athletic scholarships to student athletes, which was illegal at that time. The NCAA's "Sanity Rules" mandated that college athletes were required to work for their tuition, though this rule was often openly flouted (for instance, prior to the 1950 Rose Bowl, it was revealed that at least 16 Ohio State Buckeye football players had cushy jobs with the state of Ohio, including a running back on the payroll of the state’s transportation department as a tire inspector[18]).

President Darden made a principled argument against the statute, noting the example of teams such as Ohio State, and stated unequivocally that his school had no intention of following the Code as it enabled the powerhouse schools of the Big Ten and SEC to ignore academics and essentially pay to retain football talent. While UVA (along with traditional UVA rivals Virginia Polytechnic Institute, Maryland, and Boston College) escaped being banned from NCAA play, President Darden was concerned about the effect of "big time football" on the academical status of the University. After the 1951 football season, in which UVA only lost one game, the Virginia Cavaliers found themselves invited to the Cotton Bowl, which President Darden promptly declined, setting a precedent not broken for thirty years.[18]

Also in 1951, professor Robert Gooch wrote the "Gooch Report", which requested that UVA abolish its football program and discontinue giving athletic scholarships. While President Darden was opposed to entirely abolishing the football program or athletic scholarships, he did diminish the number of athletic scholarships given by 80%. This resulted in the departure of Coach Guepe and a series of losing seasons by the football team.[19]

Joining the ACC

Heated arguments ensued about whether Virginia should join the Atlantic Coast Conference. Athletic Director and former football coach Gus Tebell and President Darden differed sharply—Tebell in favor, Darden worried about the league's academic standards and the belief that Virginia should only align with other Virginia schools—and the Board of Visitors backed Tebell. Virginia was admitted into the ACC on December 4, 1953.[20] The first 9 years in the ACC brought 9 losing seasons and a 28-game losing streak (the second worst in NCAA FBS history), lasting from the third game of 1958 until the opening game of 1961. The streak ended in front of 18,000 fans in Scott Stadium on opening day of the 1961 season. Virginia beat William & Mary 21–6.


In 1970, George Blackburn's last year, UVA's football program was integrated for the first time, with the signing of Harrison Davis, Stanley Land, Kent Merritt, and John Rainey.[21] Blackburn was replaced by Don Lawrence, who suffered through three consecutive losing seasons between 1971 and 1973. Lawrence was succeeded by Ulmo Shannon "Sonny" Randle, UVa '59. Astroturf was laid at Scott Stadium in May 1974 and the team still had a losing season, going 4–7.

After a disastrous 1–10 season in 1975, Athletic Director Eugene Corrigan fired Randle and hired Dick Bestwick in 1976. Bestwick proved to be popular with players, alumni, and faculty until the team suffered five losing seasons in six years. Bestwick was dismissed by Athletic Director Dick Schultz after the 1981 season.

The George Welsh era

Head Coach George Welsh was hired for the start of the 1982 season, leaving the same position at the U.S. Naval Academy. He spent years as an assistant coach under Joe Paterno and brought a winning tradition in his 19 years at the helm.

After going 2–9 and 6–5 in his first two campaigns, Welsh guided the Cavaliers to an 8–2-2 season in 1984 with a 27–24 Peach Bowl win over Purdue representing UVA's first-ever bowl appearance and win.

Many UVA firsts continued under George Welsh:

In 1985 and 1986, the Cavaliers did not go to bowl games. In 1987, they started 3–4 but would win the last five games to finish 8–4 with an All-American Bowl win over BYU. In 1988, the Cavaliers started 2–4 but would win their last five games to finish 7–4 with no bowl game. The 1989 season was the greatest season in school history, with a record of 10–3 overall, and the winning of the program's first ACC co-championship. Virginia would go on to lose the Florida Citrus Bowl, the first New Year's Day bowl in school history.

Virginia, wearing new uniforms for the first time in 10 years and only the second time in head coach George Welsh's tenure, enjoyed one of the finest seasons in their history in 1994. Most noticeably, the team switched from white helmets with orange and blue stripes down the middle to dark blue helmets with a "V" over two crossed sabres on the sides. The V-Sabre logo was designed by Coach Welsh's son Matt. The rest of the uniform changed from predominantly orange and white to predominantly blue and white.

Representing a major athletic facility improvement, the artificial turf at Scott Stadium was removed and replaced with natural grass before the start of the 1995 season. Artificial turf was first installed at Scott Stadium in 1974. David A. Harrison III Field was dedicated September 2, 1995, at Virginia's home opener against William & Mary. In 1995, the Cavaliers won their second ACC title.

Citing concerns about his health as a primary reason for his decision, Welsh announced his retirement in a press conference on December 11, 2000, where he said simply "I am now, and forever will be, a Wahoo." Welsh stepped down at Virginia at the age of 67 after establishing himself as the winningest coach in UVA and ACC history. He compiled a 19-year record of 134–86–3 at Virginia, including a conference-record 80 ACC wins. Welsh led the Cavaliers to 12 bowl games and 14 consecutive years of winning at least 7 games.

The Al Groh era

Chris Long at UVA

With the retirement of a UVA legend, the Virginia faithful were looking for a new coach who could bring the same success to the team that George Welsh maintained throughout his tenure. After Florida State University's Offensive Coordinator Mark Richt accepted the position as head coach of the University of Georgia, initial speculation centered on former Penn State University Defensive Coordinator Jerry Sandusky, with only Sandusky and Richt being interviewed before, on December 30, 2000, Virginia hired New York Jets head coach and former Virginia player Al Groh.[22] His first year was a rebuilding year with the team going 5–7. Groh then led the Cavaliers to four consecutive winning seasons from 2002 to 2005, including a 3–1 record in bowl games. The 2002 squad saw the breakout season of quarterback Matt Schaub, who led the Cavaliers to a 9–5 season capped by a 48–22 blowout of #12West Virginia in the Continental Tire Bowl. The 2003 team faced adversity with an early season injury to Schaub, but the team rallied to finish the year 8–5, including a victory over Pittsburgh in the 2003 Continental Tire Bowl. The 2004 team reached #6 in national polls after a 5–0 start, the Cavaliers' highest ranking since 1990, but they lost 36–3 at #7 Florida State and finished 8–4 after an upset loss to Fresno State in the MPC Computers Bowl. The 2005 team finished with a 7–5 record, but included Virginia's second-ever victory over Florida State and a win over Minnesota in the Music City Bowl. The 2006 squad's record slipped to 5–7. In 2007 the team went 9–3 for the season, including a 48–0 shutout of the University of Miami in the Hurricanes' last home game in the Orange Bowl Stadium, as well as setting an NCAA record for wins by two points or fewer (five).[23] Gaining an invitation to Jacksonville, Florida, for the Gator Bowl, they subsequently lost 28–31 to Texas Tech. For 2008, the team started with several big losses, but went on to win four games in a row before losing the last four of the season, finishing 5–7. Virginia's 2009 campaign under Groh started with a stunning 26–14 loss to William & Mary of the FCS (formerly I-AA). It was UVA's first loss to a I-AA team since losing to William & Mary 41–37 in 1986. The 2009 team ended 3–9 and Groh was fired following the last game of the season, a loss against rival Virginia Tech.[24]

The Mike London era

The Cavaliers play against the Penn State Nittany Lions in 2012 in Scott Stadium.

Mike London was named head coach of the Cavaliers on December 7, 2009.[25] London, who was previously head coach at the University of Richmond, was an assistant coach under Al Groh from 2001–04 and again from 2006–07. London became one of only 10 black head coaches at the Division I-A level. In his first season with the Cavs, the team went 4–8 overall and 1–7 in conference play.[26][27] He followed that up with an 8-4 (5-3 ACC) turnaround season, following which he won the ACC Coach of the Year award, after preseason projections had Virginia finishing fifth in the ACC Coastal Division. The 2011 team registered a win at Florida State for the first time in school history and became the first team in FBS history to win games at Miami and Florida State in the same season. The team earned a bid to the 2011 Chick-fil-A Bowl, where they lost to Auburn 43–24. In 2012, the team suffered a disappointing 4–8 season that resulted in the dismissal of four assistant coaches. Prior to the start of the 2013 season, both starting quarterbacks from the year before, Michael Rocco and Phillip Sims, transferred from Virginia, going to Richmond and Winston-Salem State, respectively. The Cavaliers' downward spiral continued in 2013 as the team, now led at quarterback by redshirt sophomore David Watford, finished last in the ACC with a record of 2–10, losing their last nine games of the season. The following year saw marginal improvement under quarterbacks Greyson Lambert and Matt Johns, but went 5–7, including an eleventh-straight loss to Virginia Tech. Athletic director Craig Littlepage chose prior to the end of the season to retain London for 2015,[28] but fans continued to express dissatisfaction with the play-calling of London and his staff, and some calling for London's ouster.[29][30] After a third 4–8 season in 2015, London resigned as head coach.[31]

The Bronco Mendenhall era

BYU Head Coach Bronco Mendenhall was named head coach of the Cavaliers on December 4, 2015.[32]

Current coaching staff

Name Position
Bronco Mendenhall Head Coach
Ruffin McNeill Assistant Head Coach, Defensive Line Coach
Nick Howell Defensive Coordinator, Secondary Coach
Kelly Poppinga Special Teams Coordinator, Outside Linebackers Coach
Shane Hunter Inside Linebackers Coach
Robert Anae Offensive Coordinator, Inside Receivers Coach
Mark Atuaia Running Backs Coach
Jason Beck Quarterbacks Coach
Marques Hagans Wide Receivers Coach
Garett Tujague Offensive Line Coach
Patrick Hickman Director of Football Operations
Justin Anderson Director of Player Personnel
Frank Wintrich Director of Football Training & Player Development
Daquan Romero Graduate Assistant/Defense
Vic So'oto Graduate Assistant/Defense
Famika Anae Graduate Assistant/Offense
Kyle Visciglia Graduate Assistant/Special Teams


Head coaches


Conference championships

ACC Championship

SAIAA Championship

Yearly records

Due to World War I, Virginia did not field a football team in 1917 and 1918.

Year Coach Overall Conference Standing Bowl/playoffs Rank#
Unknown (Independent) (1888–1892)
1888 Unknown 2–1–0  
1889 Unknown 4–2–0  
1890 Unknown 5–2–0  
1891 Unknown 2–1–2  
1892 Unknown 3–2–1  
Unknown: 16–8–3 (.648)
John Poe (Independent) (1893–1894)
1893 John Poe 8–3–0  
1894 John Poe 8–2–0  
John Poe: 16–4–0 (.800)
Harry Mackey (Independent) (1895)
1895 Harry Mackey 9–2–0  
Harry Mackey: 9–2–0 (.818)
Martin Bergen (Independent) (1896–1897)
1896 Martin Bergen 7–2–2  
1897 Martin Bergen 6–2–1  
Martin Bergen: 13–4–3 (.725)
Joseph Massie (Independent) (1898)
1898 Joseph Massie 6–5–0  
Joseph Massie: 6–5–0 (.545)
Archie Hoxton (Independent) (1899–1900)
1899 Archie Hoxton 4–3–2  
1900 Archie Hoxton 7–2–1  
Archie Hoxton: 11–5–3 (.658)
Wesley Abbott (Independent) (1901)
1901 Wesley Abbott 8–2–0  
Wesley Abbott: 8–2–0 (.800)
John de Saulles (Independent) (1902)
1902 John DeSaulles 8–1–1  
John de Saulles: 8–1–1 (.850)
Gresham Poe (Independent) (1903)
1903 Gresham Poe 7–2–1  
Gresham Poe: 7–2–1 (.750)
Foster Sanford (Independent) (1904)
1904 Foster Sanford 6–3–0  
Foster Sanford: 6–3–0 (.667)
William Cole (Independent) (1905–1906)
1905 William Cole 5–4–0  
1906 William Cole 7–2–2  
William Cole: 11–5–3 (.658)
Hammond Johnson (SAIAA) (1907)
1907 Hammond Johnson 6–3–1  
Hammond Johnson: 6–3–1 (.650)
M.T. Cooke (SAIAA) (1908)
1908 M.T. Cooke 7–0–1  
M.T. Cooke: 7–0–1 (.938)
John Neff (SAIAA) (1909)
1909 John Neff 7–1–0  
John Neff: 7–1–0 (.875)
Charles Crawford (SAIAA) (1910)
1910 Charles Crawford 6–2–0  
Charles Crawford: 6–2–0 (.750)
Kemper Yancey (SAIAA) (1911)
1911 Kemper Yancey 8–2–0  
Kemper Yancey: 8–2–0 (.800)
Speed Elliott (SAIAA) (1912)
1912 Speed Elliott 6–3–0  
Speed Elliott: 6–3–0 (.667)
Rice Warren (SAIAA) (1913)
1913 Rice Warren 7–1–0  
Joseph Wood (SAIAA) (1914)
1914 Joseph Wood 8–1–0  
Joseph Wood: 8–1–0 (.889)
Harry Varner (SAIAA) (1915)
1915 Harry Varner 8–1–0  
Harry Varner: 8–1–0 (.889)
Peyton Evans (SAIAA) (1916)
1916 Peyton Evans 4–5–0  
Peyton Evans: 4–5–0 (.444)
Harris Coleman (SAIAA) (1919)
1919 Harris Coleman 2–5–2  
Harris Coleman: 2–5–2 (.333)
Rice Warren (SAIAA) (1920–1921)
1920 Rice Warren 5–2–2  
1921 Rice Warren 5–4–0  
Rice Warren: 17–7–2 (.692)
Thomas J. Campbell (SoCon) (1922)
1922 Thomas J. Campbell 4–4–1  
Thomas J. Campbell: 4–4–1 (.500)
Earle Neale (SoCon) (1923–1928)
1923 Earle Neale 3–5–1  
1924 Earle Neale 5–4–0  
1925 Earle Neale 7–1–1  
1926 Earle Neale 6–2–2  
1927 Earle Neale 5–4–0  
1928 Earle Neale 2–6–1  
Earle Neale: 28–22–5 (.555)
Earl Abell (SoCon) (1929–1930)
1929 Earl Abell 4–3–2  
1930 Earl Abell 4–6–0  
Earl Abell: 8–9–2 (.474)
Fred Dawson (SoCon) (1931–1933)
1931 Fred Dawson 1–7–2  
1932 Fred Dawson 5–4–0  
1933 Fred Dawson 2–6–2  
Fred Dawson: 8–17–4 (.345)
Gus Tebell (SoCon) (1934–1936)
1934 Gus Tebell 3–6–0  
1935 Gus Tebell 1–5–4  
1936 Gus Tebell 2–7–0  
Gus Tebell: 6–18–4 (.286)
Frank Murray (Independent) (1937–1945)
1937 Frank Murray 2–7–0  
1938 Frank Murray 4–4–1  
1939 Frank Murray 5–4–0  
1940 Frank Murray 4–5–0  
1941 Frank Murray 8–1–0  
1942 Frank Murray 2–6–1  
1943 Frank Murray 3–4–1  
1944 Frank Murray 6–1–2  
1945 Frank Murray 7–2–0  
Frank Murray: 41–34–5 (.544)
Art Guepe (Independent) (1946–1952)
1946 Art Guepe 4–4–1  
1947 Art Guepe 7–3–0  
1948 Art Guepe 5–3–1  
1949 Art Guepe 7–2–0  
1950 Art Guepe 8–2–0  
1951 Art Guepe 8–1–0  
1952 Art Guepe 8–2–0  
Art Guepe: 41–17–2 (.700)
Ned McDonald (Independent) (1953)
1953 Ned McDonald 1–8–0  
Ned McDonald (ACC) (1954–1955)
1954 Ned McDonald 3–6–0 0–2 7th
1955 Ned McDonald 1–9–0 0–4 8th
Ned McDonald: 5–23–0 (.179) 0–6–0 (.000)
Ben Martin (ACC) (1956–1957)
1956 Ben Martin 4–6–0 1–4 8th
1957 Ben Martin 3–6–1 2–4 6th
Ben Martin: 7–12–1 (.375) 3–8–0 (.273)
Richard Voris (ACC) (1958–1960)
1958 Richard Voris 1–9–0 1–5 8th
1959 Richard Voris 0–10–0 0–5 8th
1960 Richard Voris 0–10–0 0–6 6th
Richard Voris: 1–29–0 (.033) 1–16–0 (.059)
Bill Elias (ACC) (1961–1964)
1961 Bill Elias 4–6–0 2–4 8th
1962 Bill Elias 5–5–0 1–4 7th
1963 Bill Elias 2–7–1 0–5–1 8th
1964 Bill Elias 5–5–0 1–5 8th
Bill Elias: 16–23–1 (.413) 4–18–1 (.196)
George Blackburn (ACC) (1965–1970)
1965 George Blackburn 5–5–0 2–4 7th
1966 George Blackburn 4–6–0 3–3 T–3rd
1967 George Blackburn 5–5–0 3–3 4th
1968 George Blackburn 7–3–0 3–2 3rd
1969 George Blackburn 3–7–0 1–5 8th
1970 George Blackburn 5–6–0 0–6 8th
George Blackburn: 29–32–0 (.475) 12–23–0 (.343)
Don Lawrence (ACC) (1971–1973)
1971 Don Lawrence 3–8–0 2–3 T–3rd
1972 Don Lawrence 4–7–0 1–5 T–6th
1973 Don Lawrence 4–7–0 3–3 4th
Don Lawrence: 11–22–0 (.333) 6–11–0 (.353)
Sonny Randle (ACC) (1974–1975)
1974 Sonny Randle 4–7–0 1–5 6th
1975 Sonny Randle 1–10–0 0–5 7th
Sonny Randle: 5–17–0 (.227) 1–10–0 (.091)
Dick Bestwick (ACC) (1976–1981)
1976 Dick Bestwick 2–9–0 1–4 6th
1977 Dick Bestwick 1–9–1 1–5 6th
1978 Dick Bestwick 2–9–0 0–6 7th
1979 Dick Bestwick 6–5–0 2–4 6th
1980 Dick Bestwick 4–7–0 2–4 T–4th
1981 Dick Bestwick 1–10–0 0–6 7th
Dick Bestwick: 16–49–0 (.246) 6–29–0 (.171)
George Welsh (ACC) (1982–2000)
1982 George Welsh 2–9–0 1–5 6th
1983 George Welsh 6–5–0 3–3 T–4th
1984 George Welsh 8–2–2 3–1–2 2nd W Peach Bowl 20
1985 George Welsh 6–5–0 4–3 T–3rd
1986 George Welsh 3–8–0 2–5 T–6th
1987 George Welsh 8–4–0 5–2 2nd W All-American Bowl
1988 George Welsh 7–4–0 5–2 2nd
1989 George Welsh 10–3 6–1 T–1st L Florida Citrus Bowl 18
1990 George Welsh 8–4 5–2 T–2nd L Sugar Bowl 23
1991 George Welsh 8–3–1 4–2–1 4th L Gator Bowl
1992 George Welsh 7–4–0 4–4 T–4th
1993 George Welsh 7–5–0 5–3 T–3rd L Carquest Bowl
1994 George Welsh 9–3–0 5–3 T–3rd W Independence Bowl 15
1995 George Welsh 9–4–0 7–1 T–1st W Peach Bowl 18
1996 George Welsh 7–5 5–3 4th L Carquest Bowl
1997 George Welsh 7–4 5–3 T–3rd
1998 George Welsh 9–3 6–2 3rd L Peach Bowl 18
1999 George Welsh 7–5 5–3 T–2nd L MicronPC Bowl
2000 George Welsh 6–6 5–3 3rd L Oahu Bowl
George Welsh: 134–86–3 (.608) 85–51–3 (.622)
Al Groh (ACC) (2001–2009)
2001 Al Groh 5–7 3–5 T–7th
2002 Al Groh 9–5 6–2 T–2nd W Continental Tire Bowl 22
2003 Al Groh 8–5 4–4 T–4th W Continental Tire Bowl
2004 Al Groh 8–4 5–3 T–3rd L MPC Computers Bowl 23
2005 Al Groh 7–5 3–5 5th (Coastal) W Music City Bowl
2006 Al Groh 5–7 4–4 3rd (Coastal)
2007 Al Groh 9–4 6–2 2nd (Coastal) L Gator Bowl
2008 Al Groh 5–7 3–5 5th (Coastal)
2009 Al Groh 3–9 2–6 6th (Coastal)
Al Groh: 59–53–0 (.527) 36–36–0 (.500)
Mike London (ACC) (2010–2015)
2010 Mike London 4–8 1–7 6th (Coastal)
2011 Mike London 8–5 5–3 2nd (Coastal) L Chick-fil-A Bowl
2012 Mike London 4–8 2–6 6th (Coastal)
2013 Mike London 2–10 0–8 7th (Coastal)
2014 Mike London 5–7 3–5 7th (Coastal)
2015 Mike London 4–8 3–5 6th (Coastal)
Mike London: 26–45–0 (.366) 13–33–0 (.283)
Bronco Mendenhall (ACC) (2016–present)
2016 Bronco Mendenhall 2–10 1–7
Total: 643–588–48 (.522)
      National championship         Conference title         Conference division title
#Rankings from final AP Poll..

Bowl history

Virginia's all-time bowl record is 7-11. The team has appeared in four consecutive bowl games twice in its history, once from 1994–1996, and the other from 2002-2005. The team's most recent bowl was the 2011 Chick-fil-A Bowl.

Memorable games

Virginia 20 – Clemson 7

Prior to the arrival of George Welsh, Clemson dominated the series against Virginia. The Tigers had not lost a single game to the Cavaliers and most games were blowouts. Former Clemson coach Frank Howard had referred to the Cavaliers as "White Meat" back in the 1960s and they hadn't lost to Virginia since. Despite Welsh's success, the Tigers' record against the Cavaliers stood at 29–0 after Clemson defeated the 1989 Virginia team that captured the ACC co-championship. Behind a high-powered offense with Shawn Moore, Herman Moore, and Terry Kirby and a strong defensive effort led by Chris Slade, the Cavaliers finally defeated Clemson, which was ranked in the top ten at the time, in the second game of the 1990 season. The win propelled the Cavaliers' rise in the polls, which culminated in a number-one ranking in late October.

Virginia 33 – Florida State 28

UVa managed to win its share of close games as the 1995 season unfolded, including a 33–28 upset victory over second-ranked and previously unbeaten Florida State. Playing on national television in the first-ever Thursday night game in Charlottesville, Virginia stopped the Seminoles at the goal line on the game's final play to preserve the win. With the victory, the Cavaliers ended FSU's four-year, 29-game winning streak against ACC teams since joining the conference in 1992. Florida State became the highest-ranked team to ever fall to the Cavaliers. Virginia and Florida State were later crowned co-ACC champions after finishing the season with identical 7–1 conference records.

Virginia 20 – North Carolina 17

During a generally disappointing 1996 season, the Cavaliers upset the top ten–ranked Tar Heels at Scott Stadium. In the fourth quarter, North Carolina led Virginia 17–3 and, having advanced within the Cavaliers' five-yard line, were about to put the game away. However, Virginia cornerback Antwan Harris intercepted a Tar Heel pass in the end zone and returned it 100 yards for a touchdown. Quarterback Tim Sherman then led the Cavaliers to another ten points, capped by Rafael Garcia's late game field goal, and the defense shut down the demoralized Tar Heels for a stunning 20–17 comeback victory. The defeat cost North Carolina a bid to the Bowl Alliance; coach Mack Brown left UNC for Texas after another highly ranked Tar Heel team in 1997 also failed to receive a Bowl Alliance bid.

Virginia 36 – Virginia Tech 32

Virginia ended the 1998 regular season with a 36–32 victory at Virginia Tech in the greatest comeback in school history. Down 29–7 at the half, the Cavaliers outscored the Hokies 29–3 in the final two quarters. UVA capped its historic rally with a game-winning 47-yard touchdown pass from Aaron Brooks to wide receiver Ahmad Hawkins with 2:01 left to play.

Virginia 14 – Florida State 13

Before 2011, Virginia had never won a game against Florida State in Tallahassee. The Cavaliers' record against the Seminoles stood at 2–14 overall and 0–8 in Doak Campbell Stadium. Virginia running back Kevin Parks ran for a touchdown with 1:16 remaining in the game, giving Virginia the lead. Florida State kicker Dustin Hopkins then missed a 42-yard field goal as time ran out, giving the Cavaliers their first win in Tallahassee in school history.

Individual honors

Major awards

Bill Dudley1941
Thomas D. Burns—1993
Heath Miller2004
Chris Long2007
George Welsh1991
Bill Elias1961
George Blackburn1968
George Welsh1983, 1984, 1991, 1995
Al Groh2002, 2007
Mike London2011
Bob Davis1966
Frank Quayle—1968
Barry Word1985
Shawn Moore1989, 1990
Matt Blundin—1991
Tiki Barber1996
Matt Schaub—2002
John Ford—1984
Ronde Barber1994
Anthony Poindexter1998
Chris Long—2007

First Team All Americans

First Team All Southerns

Retired numbers

The Cavalliers have retired 6 numbers to date.[35]

Virginia Cavaliers retired numbers
No. Player Pos. Career
12 Shawn Moore QB 1988-90
24 Frank Quayle RB, HB 1966-68
35 Bill Dudley RB, HB 1940-42
48 Joe Palumbo G 1949-51
73 Jim Dombrowski OT 1982-85
97 Gene Edmonds1 RB, HB 1948-49

Honored jerseys

The University of Virginia's athletic department has issued the following statement distinguishing "retired jerseys" from "retired numbers": "Jersey retirement honors Virginia players who have significantly impacted the program. Individuals recognized in this way will have their jerseys retired, but their number will remain active."[35][35]

College Football Hall of Famers

NFL Hall of Famers

Traditional rivalries

Non-annual rivalry games

Current NFL players

Notable former players

Future non-conference opponents

2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023 2024 2025
vs William & Mary vs Richmond at Notre Dame vs Georgia vs Illinois at Illinois vs BYU at Notre Dame at BYU
vs Indiana at Indiana at Old Dominion vs Notre Dame vs Old Dominion
vs Connecticut vs Old Dominion at BYU
at Boise State

^ 1. Neutral-site Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.[36]



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  32. "UVa Hires BYU's Bronco Mendenhall as Head Football Coach". 2015-12-04. Retrieved 2015-12-04.
  33. "Mendenhall Adds Eight to Coaching Staff" (Press release). Virginia Cavaliers. December 12, 2015. Retrieved December 12, 2015.
  34. "Mendenhall Announces Defensive Coaching Switch" (Press release). Virginia Cavaliers. March 18, 2016. Retrieved March 18, 2016.
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  36. Butt, Jason (September 19, 2016). "Georgia slated to return to Chick-Fil-A Game in 2020 to face Virginia". The Telegraph. Retrieved September 20, 2016.
  37. "Virginia Future Football Schedules". Virginia Cavaliers. Retrieved March 25, 2016.

External links

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