Virginia eyeing Richmond coach

RICHMOND, Va. -- Virginia waited less than 12 hours after Richmond's football season ended to seek permission to speak with Spiders coach Mike London about its coaching vacancy.

Virginia called Richmond officials on Sunday, London's agent, Dennis Cordell, said.

The Spiders, who won the Football Championship Subdivision national championship last season in London's first year as coach, were beaten 35-31 by Appalachian State on Saturday night in the quarterfinals. The winning points came on a touchdown with 10 seconds left.

Virginia became at least the fourth school with a coaching vacancy to call seeking the right to pursue London, joining Western Kentucky, Akron and Memphis, Cordell said.

He said no meetings had been set up with Virginia, but that the opportunities for his client are "obviously something we're thinking about with all the interest that's come up."

That possibility, he added, is one that London doesn't take lightly.

"A lot of people would think about themselves" and the money they could make, he said. "Mike doesn't sleep because of things like that, thinking about all the people involved."

London did not immediately respond to phone or text messages, and Jim Miller, Richmond's athletic director, said in an e-mail that he does not discuss personnel matters.

A message left on Virginia athletic director Craig Littlepage's cell phone was not immediately returned. Littlepage said at the time that he announced Groh's firing that he would have no further comment until a search for a coach was concluded.

The Cavaliers are believed to have London at, or near, the top of their list of candidates to replace Al Groh, who was fired last Sunday after nine years at the school.

London, 49, spent six seasons on Groh's staff in Charlottesville, serving as defensive line coach and recruiting coordinator from 2001-04 and defensive coordinator in 2006 and 2007. In between, he spent a season as the defensive line coach for the NFL's Houston Texans.

He has a career record of 24-5 in two seasons at his alma mater.

London is widely respected as a recruiter in Virginia, particularly in the talent-rich Hampton Roads area where he was raised.

He also has experience recruiting to a high academic standard, which is essential at Virginia. He's also coached at William & Mary and Boston College in his career.

London declined to address whether he had coached his final game with the Spiders after their loss on Saturday night, but seemed to some to be moving on in his postgame remarks before even being asked him about speculation linking him to the Cavaliers' opening.

"I've been really blessed to be the head coach of this football team," London said. "That's a hurt locker room in there, but I'll tell you what -- 11-2, conference champions, had the year we had. I'm so proud of those guys. Coaches, players, the fans that came out to this game, particularly the students. Words can't describe the gratitude I have for being a part of something like this and being a part of this team."