Dec. 8, 2009
6:12 a.m.

CHARLOTTESVILLE — That large man in the back of the room Monday afternoon at John Paul Jones Arena? Sure enough, it was John Shuman, who came to see Mike London introduced as UVa’s football coach.

Back when he mauled opponents as an offensive lineman at Virginia Military Institute, he was known as “Inhuman Shuman.” He’s now a legend at Fork Union Military Academy, where he coaches the postgraduate football team.

Shuman’s older son, Ryan, started on the offensive line at Virginia Tech. His younger son, Mark, will play for Frank Beamer, too.

But John Shuman has long been a friend of the UVa program, even when Al Groh didn’t show much interest in recruiting FUMA players. And now that London is in charge, Shuman expects the flow of players from the Fluvanna County school to UVa to increase.

Alumni of Shuman’s program who have played at UVa include Marques Hagans, Billy McMullen, Darryl Blackstock, Almondo Curry, Merrill Robertson, Jon Copper, Zac Yarbrough, Danny Aiken and Austin Pasztor.

London’s son Brandon played for Shuman at FUMA before starring at the University of Massachusetts.

“I know [the relationship is] going to improve, because Mike London knows Fork Union,” Shuman said. “He knows us, he know what Fork Union’s about. He knows the product, obviously, that we put out. It’s always been great with Mike London, and it will continue to grow as we speak.

“When he was an assistant at William and Mary, he did a great job with us. Went to Richmond, obviously did a great job. Same at BC. When he came back to Virginia [as an assistant coach], he did a great job with us.”

Shuman also applauded the news that VMI and UVa will resume their series next year. The schools haven’t met in football since 1991.

“I think it’s going to be a great, great, great game, and I think it’s a good move because [the Keydets] run the same offense as Georgia Tech,” Shuman said.

“So [UVa can] rehearse it against VMI and then get ready to play Georgia Tech. It’s a great move.”

Jeff White

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