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July 26, 2010
7:45 a.m.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — Good luck finding a college coach in any sport who doesn’t talk about the importance of academics. Not every coach, though, walks the walk, especially in football and basketball.

At UVa, new football coach Mike London’s players have learned that he’s serious. London and his assistants periodically dropped into classes during the spring semester to make players were where they were supposed to be. Maybe it was simply coincidence, but the team’s grade-point average in the spring was its highest in a decade.

Don’t expect London’s focus on academics to wane.

“There’s no hiding the fact that our program has been hit pretty hard by attrition over the past couple of years, whether it’s guys getting kicked out for legal issues or being suspended or being kicked out for academic issues,” quarterback Marc Verica said Sunday afternoon at the ACC Football Kickoff.

“So Coach London he saw that, and from the start he wanted to make it clear that we need to go to class, we need to take care of our business.

“He’s been preaching: Go to class, show class, and treat people with dignity and respect. Because he believes that there’s a strong correlation between what you’re doing over there when you’re taking care of your business academically and then what you’re going to go over and do at the football office. He’s a strong believer that everything’s tied together.”

Verica has always taken his studies seriously. He received a bachelor’s degree in economics in May and will compete as a graduate student this fall.

Jeff White

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