Aug. 31, 2010
CHARLOTTESVILLE — It goes without saying that Mike London wants his assistants to be good football coaches. But he’d like them to be good husbands and fathers, too, and so UVa’s new head man doesn’t want them sleeping in the office or pulling all-nighters.
There will be times, of course, when the Cavaliers’ coaching staff will have to work late into the night at the McCue Center. But whenever possible, London said before a recent practice, he wants his staff to complete its work and vacate the premises at a reasonable hour.
It wasn’t unusual for London’s predecessor to work 16- to 18-hour days at the office, and Al Groh’s assistants put in vast amounts of time, too.
“First and foremost is the job at hand, as far as being prepared for practice and having the players prepared,” London said. “I’m more worried about being efficient and separating the significant from the insignificant. I know sometimes I’ve been places where you stay all night and you look at the end of the day, and you’ve got as much done as if you would stayed until the finish of practice and then left.”
London and his wife, Regina, have children at home, and so do many of his assistants. London doesn’t want to be a coach who pays lip service to the importance of family time.
“I’m always about trying to work smarter and more efficiently and understanding that the season is important, and what we do and how we train them is important,” he said, “but also there’s another aspect of being a coach, and that’s being a father and a husband.”
Early in a game week, a coaching staff spends long hours breaking down the upcoming opponent. “But then as the week goes on, and the game plan is in, you do what you do and you try to accentuate your playmakers and what you’re looking to do,” London said. “And then after that, sticking around and hanging around and doing things sometimes can be counter-productive, because then you start trying to reinvent the wheel again.”
Technological advances have made it possible to coaches to review video on their laptops, meaning UVa’s assistants — and their boss — are not chained to their offices.
“And in recruiting,” London said, “whether you’re making a recruiting call sitting at your desk, or you’re making it driving home or you’re making it sitting at home, whatever, the deal is to get it done, and to do it in a manner that allows you to be really good at what you’re doing. That’s what we’re looking at.”