Virginia Cavaliers football
|Virginia Cavaliers football|
|Athletic director||Craig Littlepage|
|Head coach||Bronco Mendenhall
1st year, 2–4 (.333)
|Other staff||Robert Anae (OC)
Nick Howell (DC)
|All-time record||643–586–48 (.522)|
|Bowl record||7–11–0 (.389)|
|Conference titles||SAIAA: 1908
ACC: Shared - None outright 1989, 1995
|Colors||Navy blue and Orange
|Marching band||Cavalier Marching Band|
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.
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 longer series than the Deep South's Oldest Rivalry between Georgia and Auburn. The Cavaliers also compete for the Commonwealth Cup against in-state rival Virginia Tech. 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 12 games in a row, where UVA sports are more widely followed than even the local NFL team, the Washington Redskins. 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.
- 1 Conference affiliations
- 2 History
- 2.1 Beginnings (1800s)
- 2.2 Coaching Carousel of 1900–1915
- 2.3 1916–1920
- 2.4 Beginning of the Cavaliers
- 2.5 New stadium
- 2.6 WWII years
- 2.7 Post-war years
- 2.8 Joining the ACC
- 2.9 Integration
- 2.10 The George Welsh era
- 2.11 The Al Groh era
- 2.12 The Mike London era
- 2.13 The Bronco Mendenhall era
- 3 Current coaching staff
- 4 Head coaches
- 5 Stadiums
- 6 Conference championships
- 7 Yearly records
- 8 Bowl history
- 9 Memorable games
- 10 Individual honors
- 11 Traditional rivalries
- 12 Non-annual rivalry games
- 13 Current NFL players
- 14 Notable former players
- 15 Future non-conference opponents
- 16 References
- 17 External links
- Independent (1888–1907)
- South Atlantic Intercollegiate Athletic Association (1907–1921)
- Southern Conference (1921–1937)
- Independent (1937–1953)
- Atlantic Coast Conference (1953–present)
- Coastal Division (2005–present)
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, and former Princeton student, Richard Reid Rogers 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.
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. The University Magazine describes how "pluck is cultivated by throttling one's competitor and violently throwing him to the ground."
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.
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.
The 1889, 1890, 1892, 1893, 1894, 1895, 1896, and 1897 teams all claim Southern championships. The 116–0 drubbing by Princeton in 1890 signaled football's arrival in the south. 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.
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.
Coaching Carousel of 1900–1915
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.
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.
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.
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!" 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. 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).
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.
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.
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. 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. 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:
- First-ever unanimous All-America choice—1985, offensive tackle Jim Dombrowski
- First 10-win season—1989, 10–3
- First ACC co-Championship—1989
- First time ranked #1—1990, 4 weeks
- First team to beat Florida State in ACC play—1995
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
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. 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). 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.
The Mike London era
Mike London was named head coach of the Cavaliers on December 7, 2009. 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. 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, but fans continued to express dissatisfaction with the play-calling of London and his staff, and some calling for London's ouster. After a third 4–8 season in 2015, London resigned as head coach.
The Bronco Mendenhall era
Current coaching staff
|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|
- 1887–1891 Unknown, most teams were led by the players themselves
- 1892 William C. Spicer
- 1893–1894 Johnny Poe
- 1895 Harry Arista Mackey
- 1896–1897 Marty Bergen
- 1898 Joseph Massie (Virginia 1893)
- 1899–1900 Archie Hoxton (Virginia 1896)
- 1901 Wesley Abbott
- 1902 John De Saulles
- 1903 Gresham Poe
- 1904 Foster Sanford
- 1905–1906 William Cole
- 1907 Hammond Johnson (Virginia 1907)
- 1908 Merritt Cooke Jr. (Virginia 1906)
- 1909 John Neff (Virginia 1908)
- 1910 Charles Crawford (Virginia 1908)
- 1911 Kemper Yancey (Virginia 1909)
- 1912 John “Speed” Elliott (Virginia 1909)
- 1914 Joseph Wood (Virginia 1914)
- 1915 Harry Varner (Virginia 1911)
- 1916 Peyton Evans (Virginia 1915)
- 1917–1918 No Team
- 1919 Harris Coleman (Virginia 1916)
- 1913, 1920–1921 Rice Warren (Virginia 1905)
- 1922 Thomas Campbell
- 1923–1928 Earle "Greasy" Neale
- 1929–1930 Earl Abell
- 1931–1933 Fred Dawson
- 1934–1936 Gus Tebell
- 1937–1945 Frank Murray
- 1946–1952 Arthur Guepe
- 1953–1955 Ned McDonald
- 1956–1957 Ben Martin
- 1958–1960 Richard Voris
- 1961–1964 Bill Elias
- 1965–1970 George Blackburn
- 1971–1973 Don Lawrence
- 1974–1975 Sonny Randle (Virginia 1959)
- 1976–1981 Dick Bestwick
- 1982–2000 George Welsh
- 2001–2009 Al Groh (Virginia 1967)
- 2010–2015 Mike London
- 2016–present Bronco Mendenhall
- 1888–1912 Madison Hall Field
- 1913–1930 Lambeth Field
- 1931–present Scott Stadium
- 1989 (co-champions with Duke)
- 1995 (co-champions with Florida State)
Due to World War I, Virginia did not field a football team in 1917 and 1918.
|Unknown (Independent) (1888–1892)|
|John Poe (Independent) (1893–1894)|
|John Poe:||16–4–0 (.800)|
|Harry Mackey (Independent) (1895)|
|Harry Mackey:||9–2–0 (.818)|
|Martin Bergen (Independent) (1896–1897)|
|Martin Bergen:||13–4–3 (.725)|
|Joseph Massie (Independent) (1898)|
|Joseph Massie:||6–5–0 (.545)|
|Archie Hoxton (Independent) (1899–1900)|
|Archie Hoxton:||11–5–3 (.658)|
|Wesley Abbott (Independent) (1901)|
|Wesley Abbott:||8–2–0 (.800)|
|John de Saulles (Independent) (1902)|
|John de Saulles:||8–1–1 (.850)|
|Gresham Poe (Independent) (1903)|
|Gresham Poe:||7–2–1 (.750)|
|Foster Sanford (Independent) (1904)|
|Foster Sanford:||6–3–0 (.667)|
|William Cole (Independent) (1905–1906)|
|William Cole:||11–5–3 (.658)|
|Hammond Johnson (SAIAA) (1907)|
|Hammond Johnson:||6–3–1 (.650)|
|M.T. Cooke (SAIAA) (1908)|
|M.T. Cooke:||7–0–1 (.938)|
|John Neff (SAIAA) (1909)|
|John Neff:||7–1–0 (.875)|
|Charles Crawford (SAIAA) (1910)|
|Charles Crawford:||6–2–0 (.750)|
|Kemper Yancey (SAIAA) (1911)|
|Kemper Yancey:||8–2–0 (.800)|
|Speed Elliott (SAIAA) (1912)|
|Speed Elliott:||6–3–0 (.667)|
|Rice Warren (SAIAA) (1913)|
|Joseph Wood (SAIAA) (1914)|
|Joseph Wood:||8–1–0 (.889)|
|Harry Varner (SAIAA) (1915)|
|Harry Varner:||8–1–0 (.889)|
|Peyton Evans (SAIAA) (1916)|
|Peyton Evans:||4–5–0 (.444)|
|Harris Coleman (SAIAA) (1919)|
|Harris Coleman:||2–5–2 (.333)|
|Rice Warren (SAIAA) (1920–1921)|
|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)|
|Earle Neale:||28–22–5 (.555)|
|Earl Abell (SoCon) (1929–1930)|
|Earl Abell:||8–9–2 (.474)|
|Fred Dawson (SoCon) (1931–1933)|
|Fred Dawson:||8–17–4 (.345)|
|Gus Tebell (SoCon) (1934–1936)|
|Gus Tebell:||6–18–4 (.286)|
|Frank Murray (Independent) (1937–1945)|
|Frank Murray:||41–34–5 (.544)|
|Art Guepe (Independent) (1946–1952)|
|Art Guepe:||41–17–2 (.700)|
|Ned McDonald (Independent) (1953)|
|Ned McDonald (ACC) (1954–1955)|
|Ned McDonald:||5–23–0 (.179)||0–6–0 (.000)|
|Ben Martin (ACC) (1956–1957)|
|Ben Martin:||7–12–1 (.375)||3–8–0 (.273)|
|Richard Voris (ACC) (1958–1960)|
|Richard Voris:||1–29–0 (.033)||1–16–0 (.059)|
|Bill Elias (ACC) (1961–1964)|
|Bill Elias:||16–23–1 (.413)||4–18–1 (.196)|
|George Blackburn (ACC) (1965–1970)|
|George Blackburn:||29–32–0 (.475)||12–23–0 (.343)|
|Don Lawrence (ACC) (1971–1973)|
|Don Lawrence:||11–22–0 (.333)||6–11–0 (.353)|
|Sonny Randle (ACC) (1974–1975)|
|Sonny Randle:||5–17–0 (.227)||1–10–0 (.091)|
|Dick Bestwick (ACC) (1976–1981)|
|Dick Bestwick:||16–49–0 (.246)||6–29–0 (.171)|
|George Welsh (ACC) (1982–2000)|
|1984||George Welsh||8–2–2||3–1–2||2nd||W Peach Bowl||20|
|1987||George Welsh||8–4–0||5–2||2nd||W All-American Bowl|
|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|
|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|
|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)|
|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)|
|National championship Conference title Conference division title|
|#Rankings from final AP Poll..|
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.
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.
- ACC Coach of the Year
- Bill Elias—1961
- George Blackburn—1968
- George Welsh—1983, 1984, 1991, 1995
- Al Groh—2002, 2007
- Mike London—2011
- ACC Player of the Year
- Bob Davis—1966
- Frank Quayle—1968
- Barry Word—1985
- Shawn Moore—1989, 1990
- Matt Blundin—1991
- Tiki Barber—1996
- Matt Schaub—2002
- ACC Rookie of the Year
- ACC Defensive Player of the Year
First Team All Americans
- Jim Bakhtiar, fullback, 1957
- Will Brice, punter, 1995
- Ahmad Brooks, linebacker, 2004
- Elton Brown, offensive guard, 2004
- Mark Dixon, offensive guard, 1993
- Jim Dombrowski, offensive tackle, 1985
- Bill Dudley, halfback, 1941
- Percy Ellsworth, defensive back, 1995
- D'Brickashaw Ferguson, offensive tackle, 2005
- Thomas Jones, tailback, 1999
- Patrick Kerney, defensive end, 1998
- Noel LaMontagne, offensive tackle/offensive guard, 1999
- Chris Long, defensive end 2007
- Eugene Mayer, halfback 1915
- Heath Miller, tight end, 2004
- Herman Moore, wide receiver, 1990
- Shawn Moore, quarterback, 1990
- Joe Palumbo, middle guard, 1951
- John Papit, fullback, 1949
- Anthony Poindexter, defensive back, 1997 & 1998
- Ray Roberts, offensive tackle, 1991
- Ray Savage, defensive end/outside linebacker, 1989
- Tom Scott, defensive end, 1952
- Chris Slade, defensive end, 1991 & 1992
- John St. Clair, center, 1999
First Team All Southerns
- Harry Summersgill, end, 1898
- John Loyd, tackle, 1898, 1899, & 1900
- James Davis, guard, 1898
- William Choice, guard, 1899 & 1900
- Harry Gerstle, halfback, 1899
- Robert M. Coleman, fullback, 1899, 1901
- Alexis Hobson, end, 1900
- Virginius Dabney, halfback, 1900
- Christie Benet, tackle, 1901
- Buck Harris, guard, 1901
- Ed Tutwiler, quarterback, 1901
- Bradley Walker, fullback, 1901
- Thomas Bronston, end, 1902
- Henry Johnson, tackle, 1902 & 1903
- Walter Council, tackle, 1902, 1903, & 1904
- John Pollard, quarterback, 1902 & 1903
- Clyde Conner, guard, 1903
- Branch Johnson, guard, 1904
- Hammond Johnson, halfback, 1904 & 1905
- Oscar Randolph, quarterback, 1906
- Henry Cabell Maddux, Jr, end, 1907
- William Gloth, center, 1907 & 1908
- Sam Honaker, quarterback, 1907 & 1908
- Carlton Elliott, end, 1908 & 1909
- B. R. Cecil, tackle, 1909
- Forest Stanton, halfback, 1909
- Kemper Yancey, fullback, 1909
- Rube Barker, tackle, 1914
- Harris Coleman, guard, 1914
- Eugene Mayer, halfback, 1914 & 1915
- Charles Fenwick, tackle, 1922
- G. B. Arnold, halfback, 1922
- Charles Mackall, guard, 1926
The Cavalliers have retired 6 numbers to date.
|Virginia Cavaliers retired numbers|
|24||Frank Quayle||RB, HB||1966-68|
|35||Bill Dudley||RB, HB||1940-42|
|97||Gene Edmonds1||RB, HB||1948-49|
- 1 Posthumous honour.
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."
- 3—Anthony Poindexter, defensive back
- 6—Thomas Jones, running back
- 7—Matt Schaub, quarterback
- 10—Will Brice, punter
- 12—Bob Davis, quarterback
- 19—Ronde Barber, cornerback
- 21—Tiki Barber, running back
- 34—Jim Bakhtiar, fullback, linebacker, placekicker
- 42—Terry Kirby, running back
- 50—John St. Clair, offensive tackle
- 56—Ray Savage, linebacker
- 58—Patrick Kerney, defensive end
- 61—Elton Brown, offensive guard
- 65—Tom Scott, defensive end, offensive end
- 66—Mark Dixon, offensive guard
- 66—D'Brickashaw Ferguson, offensive tackle
- 72—Ray Roberts, offensive tackle
- 77—Noel LaMontagne, offensive guard
- 85—Chris Slade, defensive end
- 87—Herman Moore, wide receiver
- 87—John Papit, halfback
- 89—Heath Miller, tight end
- 91—Chris Long, defensive lineman
- 98—Patrick Kerney, defensive lineman
College Football Hall of Famers
- Bill Dudley, halfback, inducted in 1956
- Earle "Greasy" Neale, head coach, inducted in 1967
- Tom Scott, defensive end, inducted in 1979
- Frank Murray, head coach, inducted in 1983
- Joe Palumbo, middle guard, inducted in 1999
- George Welsh, head coach, inducted in 2004
- Jim Dombrowski, offensive guard, inducted in 2008
NFL Hall of Famers
- Bill Dudley, halfback, inducted December 6, 1966
- Earle "Greasy" Neale, head coach, inducted September 13, 1969
- Henry Jordan, tackle, inducted July 29, 1995
- Commonwealth Cup (Virginia vs. Virginia Tech)—the Cup has been given since 1996 to the winner of this game played 93 times and each year since 1970. Virginia last won the Cup in 2003.
- South's Oldest Rivalry (Virginia vs. North Carolina)—the schools have played every year since 1919 totaling 116 games, by far the longest series in the ACC.
- Virginia vs. Maryland—ACC "permanent rivals" from 2005–13 under the two-division system. Many athletes and students on both sides come from the Washington Metropolitan Area. The rivalry's future is unclear since Maryland announced a move to the Big Ten effective in 2014.
Non-annual rivalry games
- Jefferson-Eppes Trophy (Virginia vs. Florida State)—a friendly rivalry to promote ties between the two universities, this trophy was created in 1996.
- Virginia–West Virginia rivalry—Rarely played anymore, the last contest was a 48–22 Cavalier victory in the 2002 Continental Tire Bowl.
- Virginia–Clemson rivalry—Virginia took 30 attempts to beat ACC foe Clemson, which sparked a rivalry.
Current NFL players
- Eli Harold—linebacker, San Francisco 49ers
- Oday Aboushi—tackle, New York Jets
- Branden Albert—offensive tackle, Kansas City Chiefs
- Will Barker—offensive tackle, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Luke Bowanko—center, Jacksonville Jaguars
- Ahmad Brooks—linebacker, San Francisco 49ers
- Chris Canty—defensive end, Baltimore Ravens
- Nate Collins—defensive tackle, Chicago Bears
- Matt Conrath—defensive tackle, St. Louis Rams
- Chris Cook—cornerback, Free Agent
- Ras-I Dowling—cornerback, New York Jets
- D'Brickashaw Ferguson—tackle, New York Jets
- Anthony Harris—safety, Minnesota Vikings
- Cam Johnson—linebacker, Indianapolis Colts
- Chris Long—defensive end, St. Louis Rams
- Rodney McLeod—safety, St. Louis Rams
- Heath Miller—tight end, Pittsburgh Steelers
- Chase Minnifield—cornerback, Washington Redskins
- Eugene Monroe—tackle, Baltimore Ravens
- Morgan Moses—tackle, Washington Redskins
- Kevin Ogletree—wide receiver, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Austin Pasztor—tackle, Jacksonville Jaguars
- Cedric Peerman—running back, Cincinnati Bengals
- John Phillips—tight end, San Diego Chargers
- LaRoy Reynolds—linebacker, Jacksonville Jaguars
- Matt Schaub—quarterback, Baltimore Ravens
- Jason Snelling—running back, Atlanta Falcons
Notable former players
- Tiki Barber—retired NFL running back, New York Giants
- Ronde Barber—retired NFL defensive back, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Aaron Brooks——retired NFL quarterback, New Orleans Saints and Oakland Raiders
- Tyrone Davis—retired NFL wide receiver/tight end, New York Jets and Green Bay Packers
- James Farrior— retired NFL linebacker, New York Jets and Pittsburgh Steelers
- Jim Grobe—head coach, Wake Forest Demon Deacons football
- Thomas Jones—retired NFL running back, Arizona Cardinals, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Chicago Bears, New York Jets and Kansas City Chiefs
- Patrick Kerney—retired NFL defensive end, Atlanta Falcons and Seattle Seahawks
- Don Majkowski—retired NFL quarterback
- Herman Moore—retired NFL wide receiver, Detroit Lions and New York Giants
- Wali Rainer—retired NFL linebacker
- Terrence Wilkins—retired NFL and CFL wide receiver, Indianapolis Colts
- Derek Dooley—former head coach, University of Tennessee Volunteers football
- Jon Tenuta—former defensive coordinator, University of Virginia Cavaliers football
Future non-conference opponents
|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|
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