Week 1 foes Virginia, Richmond traded coaches
AP Sports Writer
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) – New Richmond football coach Latrell Scott will be in familiar surroundings for his debut as a head coach. The big difference is the location of his locker room.
Scott spent last season coaching wide receivers under Al Groh at Virginia. Now he’ll be taking his Spiders to Charlottesville for their opener, and against a familiar face.
Mike London, Richmond’s head coach the past two seasons, is now running the Cavaliers.
Given his brief history at Virginia, Scott doesn’t expect a warm reception.
“They’re going to treat me just like any other coach who’s coming in there trying to play,” said the 35-year-old, one of the youngest coaches in Division I. “I had a great season in Charlottesville despite our record. I’m looking forward to seeing some of the people.”
So, too, is London, though he expects the warm and fuzzies to happen after the game.
“Pregame, they may not want to talk to me. I understand that,” he said, recalling that he got a chilly reception three years ago after leaving Virginia to take his first head coaching job at Richmond, his alma mater.
There are close Virginia and Richmond ties between the assistant coaches, too.
Three of Scott’s assistant coaches came with him from Virginia, another was an assistant there previously and another played for the Cavaliers.
Virginia’s defensive coordinator, Jim Reid, ranks among the Spiders’ leaders in career coaching victories. The Cavaliers also have three other assistants that came with London from Richmond and a former Spiders strength coach.
London’s former players have said there are no hard feelings, even though his departure came just days after Richmond lost in the Football Championship Subdivision quarterfinals. A year earlier, he had guided them to the national championship.
“We understand his decision,” linebacker Eric McBride, who started in each of London’s seasons at Richmond. “He has family. He has goals. He has dreams. He had this opportunity he has to take, so best to him. We’re excited to play against him on September 4th.”
Defensive lineman Martin Parker, who also started both seasons, said if he should happen to be involved in a play that ends with him standing near the Virginia sidelines and close to London, he might say hello and shake his hand before heading back to his team’s huddle.
But the rest of the action doesn’t figure to be as cordial.
Last season, it was a loss to William & Mary – also like Richmond an FCS school and member of the Colonial Athletic Association – that started the Cavaliers on a deep downward spiral.
“I’ve been on both sides of this game,” Scott said. “I’ve been down as an assistant and beat Duke. I’ve been at Virginia and lost to William & Mary. I know what these games entail. I think when you have teams like Richmond, people don’t take teams like this (lightly).
Scott said FCS teams know “they have the opportunity to win a game like this if they do the right thing. On the flip side, Virginia also knows if they don’t play well, they could lose.”
The hardest part now, Scott said, will be waiting for the 6 p.m. kickoff.
“We’d kick that thing off at noon if we could,” he said.