Virginia's London fires four assistants, announces QB Rocco will transfer

Associated Press • Dec 2, 2012 at 3:36 AM

CHARLOTTESVILLE — Virginia football coach Mike London has fired four assistant coaches and reassigned another after the Cavaliers finished a disappointing 4-8 this season.

London said Sunday that defensive coordinator and associate head coach Jim Reid, defensive line coach Jeff Hanson, running backs coach Mike Faragalli and tight ends coach Shawn Moore had all been fired. Hanson also served as recruiting coordinator.

All four had been with London throughout his three seasons at Virginia.

London also said Anthony Poindexter had been relieved of his duties as special teams coach but would remain on staff.

In a statement, London hinted that the coaching changes might not all have been his idea.

"After conducting a complete evaluation of the program and discussing my thoughts with administration, there are a number of areas we need to improve on and it starts with me as the head coach," he said.

"The decision to release these four coaches is very difficult, but one I feel is necessary in order to meet the goals we have set for the Virginia football program," he continued. "I have coached with some of these men for many years, won a national championship with some, and I truly appreciate their dedication and commitment, and more importantly, their friendships. I wish them all the best."Virginia finished fourth in the Atlantic Coast Conference in total defense this season, allowing 353 yards per game. Offensively, the Cavaliers finished eighth with an average of nearly 397 yards per game.

The coaching dismissals came on the heels of London's announcement that quarterback Michael Rocco will transfer.

London said he met Friday with the junior, who started 21 games in the past two seasons, and granted Rocco's request to be released from his scholarship. Rocco plans to complete the current semester at Virginia.

Rocco shared time at QB with Alabama transfer Phillip Sims this past season. The previous season, Rocco started all 13 games as a sophomore and led Virginia to an 8-5 record and its first bowl game since the 2007 season.

Rocco has not responded to messages seeking comment, but his uncle, Richmond head coach Danny Rocco, said he believes his nephew is going to test the waters in the coming weeks hoping to find a BCS-level school to join.

Rocco will have to sit out the 2013 season, per NCAA rules regarding transfers, but "To have a guy show up on your roster in two years that started 21 games in the ACC isn't a bad thing to have," Danny Rocco said by telephone Sunday.

In his career, Rocco threw for 4,731 yards, 27 touchdowns and 24 interceptions. His 2,671 passing yards in 2011 ranks as the fourth best single-season total in Virginia history. He's eighth all-time at Virginia with 4,731 passing yards.

"After meeting with Michael and discussing his future with our program and his personal goals and interests I understand his desire to complete his college football career elsewhere," London said in a statement. "Michael has been an outstanding member of our program on the field, in the classroom and in the community. I appreciate the competitive nature, work ethic and leadership he brought to our program and I wish him the best in his future endeavors."

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