George Welsh (American football)
August 26, 1933 |
|Coaching career (HC unless noted)|
|Penn State (assistant)
|Head coaching record|
College Football Data Warehouse
|Accomplishments and honors|
2 ACC (1989, 1995)
Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Award (1991)
4x ACC Coach of the Year (1983–1984, 1991, 1995)
|College Football Hall of Fame
Inducted in 2004 (profile)
George Welsh (born August 26, 1933) is a former American college football player and coach. He served the head football coach at the United States Naval Academy from 1972 to 1981 and at the University of Virginia from 1982 to 2000. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame as a coach in 2004.
Welsh was born in Coaldale, Pennsylvania. He graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1956 where he was an All-American quarterback. After serving as an assistant coach under Rip Engle and Joe Paterno at Penn State from 1963 to 1972, Welsh began his head coaching career at his alma mater in 1973. He inherited a program that had only had one winning season since the Roger Staubach era. He led the Midshipmen to three bowl game appearances and their first nine-win season in 16 years. In nine seasons, Welsh compiled a record of 55-46-1, making him the school's most successful coach.
In 1982, Welsh left Navy to become coach at Virginia. He walked into a situation even worse than the one he'd inherited at Navy. Prior to his arrival, Virginia had only two winning seasons in the previous 29 years and had never been to a bowl game. The Cavaliers had also only notched one winning record in Atlantic Coast Conference play, had only finished higher than fourth twice, and had only won 33 conference games in 29 years of ACC play. Welsh turned around the program quickly, leading Virginia to a win in the school's first-ever bowl appearance, the 1984 Peach Bowl. In 1987, Virginia started a streak of 13 straight seasons with seven or more wins. This stretch included shared ACC titles in 1989 and 1995 and 11 additional bowl appearances, but never an outright ACC Championship. His teams also notched four nine-win seasons, including a school-record 10 wins in 1989. His 1990 team was ranked No. 1 in both polls for two weeks in October--the only time a Division I team from the Commonwealth has been ranked No. 1 in a major poll. His 1995 team defeated Florida State 33-28 on November 2, the first time the Seminoles had lost a conference game since joining the league. He retired after the 2000 season due to health concerns. Since his retirement, UVa has still failed to win an ACC Championship or earn a berth in a BCS bowl, and has been largely overshadowed by in-state rival Virginia Tech.
In 19 years at the helm, he became the most successful coach in school and Atlantic Coast Conference history. He was surpassed by Bobby Bowden of Florida State and Frank Beamer of Virginia Tech, but remains far and away the most successful coach in UVa history (his 134 wins are more than double those of runner-up Al Groh). He was named ACC Coach of the Year four times (1983, 1984, 1991 and 1995) and National Coach of the Year one time (1991).
Upon his retirement after the 2000 season, his 189 career victories ranked him 24th in Division I-A history.
Head coaching record
|Navy Midshipmen (NCAA Division I/I-A Independent) (1973–1981)|
|1980||Navy||8–4||L Garden State|
|Virginia Cavaliers (Atlantic Coast Conference) (1982–2000)|
|1989||Virginia||10–3||6–1||T–1st||L Florida Citrus||15||18|
|National championship Conference title Conference division title|
|#Rankings from final Coaches' Poll.
°Rankings from final AP Poll.
- George Welsh at the College Football Hall of Fame
- George Welsh at the College Football Data Warehouse