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Thursday, January 21, 2010
Mike London best offseason hire?

By ESPN.com staff
ESPN.com

There's a debate going on at my colleague Bruce Feldman's blog, regarding the best offseason coaching hire, and Virginia coach Mike London was one of the three choices, along with Skip Holtz and Brian Kelly.

ESPN The Magazine senior writer Ryan McGee was the one who argued on behalf of London, writing that London's ability to connect with his players is what separates him. Fortunately for the ACC, that was the only real head coaching hire this offseason (Bobby Bowden and Jimbo Fisher was more of a swap, since Fisher was hired a few years ago.)

As to whether London was the best offseason hire in the country, it's possible, but the other coaches are far more proven at the FBS level. London has the intangibles, though, to catch up to them quickly.

London is building a staff that's familiar with the program, the surrounding recruiting area and his philosophies, which right away eliminates a lot of factors that could've made for a more difficult transition. McGee is right -- London knows how to relate to the players, and relationships at Virginia need to be rebuilt.

When it comes to winning championships, London is proven -- at the FCS level. Off the field, he's the kind of guy you won't hear any of his peers whisper a bad word about, other than they wish Virginia hadn't hired him because he's good. We'll see if he's good enough to be regarded as the best offseason hire of 2009, but there's no doubt he was the best hire for Virginia.