Bricks and Mortar

Mike London Jim Daves
As a mid-March snow fell during the first day of spring football practice, the George Welsh Indoor Practice Facility was put to use right away. Coach Mike London moved his team out of the raw weather and into the new 80,000-square-foot building, named in honor of UVA's winningest coach (Welsh compiled a 134-86-3 record during his 19 years at Virginia).

Built at a cost of $13 million and funded entirely by private donations, the facility contains a full-size football field that will be used by football and other teams during inclement weather. Twelve large garage doors can be opened to connect the indoor space to the adjoining McCue Practice Field, which was upgraded with a new playing surface, video board, lighting and play clock.

The football team practices inside the George Welsh Indoor Practice Facility on a snowy March day Jim Daves

Many of the facility's features are designed to help Cavalier teams improve their practice and game performance:

  • Four fixed high-definition remote cameras record practices in the facility, with another three cameras for the field outdoors.
  • A 65-foot-high ceiling allows plenty of room for kicking and passing.
  • The FieldTurf Revolution playing surface contains 132 tons of rubber pellets.
  • Outside, a sand-pit training area contains 400 tons of sand, or 17 dump-truck loads. Drills in the sand help players develop explosive strength, speed and vertical leap.

X's and O's

The practice facility isn't the only thing new for Virginia football this year. After a 4-8 season, the coaching staff welcomed four new assistant coaches who bring a combined 135 years of coaching experience.

Tom O’Brien
Associate Head Coach for Offense and Tight Ends Coach

  • 39 seasons of collegiate coaching, including head coaching positions at Boston College and NC State
  • Returns to UVA after 15 seasons on George Welsh’s staff (1982-1996), the final six years as the offensive coordinator
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Jon Tenuta (Educ ‘82)
Associate Head Coach for the Defense and Defensive Coordinator

  • 33 seasons of collegiate coaching, including stints as defensive coordinator at Kansas State, Ohio State, North Carolina, Georgia Tech, Notre Dame and NC State.
  • Served as a UVA graduate assistant in 1981 and 1982
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Steve Fairchild
Offensive Coordinator and Quarterbacks Coach

  • 31 years of coaching experience at both the NFL and collegiate levels, including 16 seasons as an offensive coordinator
  • Most recently, senior offensive assistant for the San Diego Chargers; head coach at Colorado State from 1997 to 2000
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Larry Lewis
Special Teams Coordinator and Running Backs Coach

  • 32 years of collegiate coaching experience, including an eight-year stint as the head coach at Idaho State
  • At Washington State in the 1990s, one of the first college coaches to hold the title of special teams coordinator
Jim Daves