Reid, Moore among 4 assistants fired at Virginia

Reid, Moore among 4 assistants fired at Virginia

Virginia football coach Mike London fired four assistant coaches and reassigned another as part of sweeping changes to his coaching staff after the Cavaliers finished a disappointing 4-8 this season.

Defensive coordinator and associate head coach Jim Reid, defensive line coach Jeff Hanson, running backs coach Mike Faragalli and tight ends coach Shawn Moore have been dismissed, London announced Sunday.

Anthony Poindexter also has been relieved of his duties as special teams coach but will remain on staff, London said in a statement released by the school. Poindexter also coaches Virginia's safeties.

The four coaches fired have been with London throughout his three seasons at Virginia. Also Sunday, the school announced junior quarterback Michael Rocco will transfer.

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.''

Reid, who had London as an assistant at Richmond in 1995 and 1996, is the most surprising departure.

The Cavaliers' defense was their most consistent unit this season, especially as the season wore on and younger players forced into prominent roles gained experience. Virginia finished fourth in the Atlantic Coast Conference in total defense, allowing 353 yards per game, but struggled to make dynamic, game-changing plays. Reid's until had just 17 sacks and forced just 12 turnovers this season.

Over its last six games, Virginia opponents averaged just 306 yards on offense, a figure that would have placed the Cavaliers in the top 10 nationally if accomplished over the course of the season.

Reid was on the road recruiting this week, along with most of Virginia's staff. He did not immediately respond to phone and text messages left on his cellphone following the morning announcement.

Hanson, who also served as recruiting coordinator, and Faragalli both coached with London at Richmond, winning the FCS national championship in 2008, and came with him when London replaced Al Groh in 2009.

Moore, a former Cavaliers quarterback, had never been a college assistant before joining London's staff. His son, Michael Moore, was a promising freshman defense lineman on the team this season.

Poindexter, one of the most popular Cavaliers players, was the only holdover from Groh's staff, and has been the one under the most scrutiny because of Virginia's anemic special teams.

The Cavaliers allowed two kickoffs to be returned for touchdowns this season and routinely started offensive series inside their own 25 yard-line when their own kickoff returners were ineffective.

In Virginia's 17-14 loss to Virginia Tech in the season finale, the Cavaliers had an opportunity to kick a 38-yard field goal and go ahead 17-7 against a rival they had lost to eight consecutive times.

Instead, they faked the kick on fourth-and-8 and were stopped two yards shy of a first down.

The failure was viewed as a huge momentum swing in a game the Cavaliers lost, 17-14.

London said his search for replacement coaches to rebuild his staff will begin immediately.


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Capitals stars react to losing Barry Trotz as head coach

Capitals stars react to losing Barry Trotz as head coach

LAS VEGAS—Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom weren’t expecting to lose their head coach less than two weeks after winning the Stanley Cup.

But business is business, Ovi said, and Barry Trotz is handling his by attempting to capitalize on claiming the championship.

“It’s sad,” Ovechkin said on the red carpet at the NHL Awards, where he accepted his seventh Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy on Wednesday night. “Obviously, we won together.”

The Caps’ captain also thanked Trotz for directing him—and his teammates—to new heights.  

“First of all, [I want to] thank him for a great job to be our coach, to be our dad, to give us a chance to win,” Ovechkin said. “But then again, it’s a business. You never know what’s going to happen. I’m pretty sure he’s going to be fine and I wish him luck.”

Backstrom, meanwhile, said he was caught off guard by Trotz’s decision to step down over a contract stalemate with the team. Trotz asked for $5 million per for five seasons; the Caps balked over the terms Trotz’s camp sought.   

“I was a little surprised, obviously,” Backstrom said. “I heard the scenario.”

Like Ovechkin, though, Backstrom praised the job Trotz did during his four-year tenure.

“He’s done a great job in Washington,” Backstrom said. “We obviously have him to thank for a lot. He’s done a tremendous job of schooling us and winning a championship. No one is going to take that away from him.”

Trotz’s next move is unclear, but he’s a free agent and currently eligible to negotiate with any team. The Islanders are the only team with an opening for a head coach.

As for Washington, GM Brian MacLellan said that associate coach Todd Reirden will get the first crack at replacing Trotz.

Ovechkin said he thinks Reirden would be a good fit.

“We all respect Todd,” Ovechkin said. “We all like him. Again, it’s not our thing to say who’s going to be head coach, but if it’s going to be Todd, it’s going to be fun.”


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A drawing of the moment Ovi lifted the Stanley Cup makes the moment joyful all over again

Daniel Duffy on Twitter/@RealArtOfWords

A drawing of the moment Ovi lifted the Stanley Cup makes the moment joyful all over again

How do you make a photo of Alex Ovechkin hoisting the Stanley Cup for the first time even more memorable?

You make it out of all the Capitals' game scores this year, of course.

Capitals fan and artist Daniel Duffy (@RealArtOfWords) posted a phenomenal finished piece commemorating the Cup win on Wednesday, June 20. It's a little meta and astounding to look at, but very fun to try and read. If you want to relive the glory that was the parts of the 2017-18 Capitals season, check out the piece.

The piece, which appears to be done in a traditional medium like pen or marker, holds the team faced, arena played at, and final score of every game. It uses six colors and over sixty lines of text. Ovechkin roars as he holds the Stanley Cup overhead, the white away jersey shaded with bits of grey text. It takes a skilled eye to sort text and colors into shapes and shading, but Daniel did a fantastic job! It's awesome to see a fanbase create different interpretations of iconic moments. We'll surely see more of Ovechkin in this moment.

Just as we thought we were going to get tired of the celebration, fans find new ways to surprise us. Stay creative, Caps fans!