Chris Long Makes Significant Gift to George Welsh Indoor Practice Facility
Sept. 18, 2012
Charlottesville, Va. – Chris Long, a former All-America defensive lineman at Virginia and current member of the St. Louis Rams in the National Football League, has made a $300,000 contribution to the Virginia Athletics Foundation for the new George Welsh Indoor Practice Facility. Long is currently in his fifth season with the Rams.
The facility is currently under construction on the site of a former football practice field behind the McCue Center and University Hall. The projected cost of the 78,000-square foot facility is $14.5 million, including financing costs to account for pledge payments scheduled to be made over the next five years. The facility is scheduled for completion in the spring of 2013 and will provide practice and training space for the football program and all other field sports at the University of Virginia.
“I am so proud to be a part of a brotherhood like the Virginia Football program,” Long said. “I am completely committed to helping Coach London build this program and I know it’s going to take time and hard work to do it the right way. Some of my greatest memories were experienced at UVa working with my teammates to set a standard of excellence on the field that my University could be proud of. Virginia football players of the future deserve this same opportunity and the construction of this facility goes a long way towards ensuring that reality.”
“A big thank you is in order because this is a tremendous commitment from Chris. We appreciate his leadership in helping our program as we work to complete the fundraising for this project,” said Craig Littlepage, Virginia director of athletics. “This gift is the largest we’ve received from an active professional athlete and it will provide some added momentum to our fundraising efforts.”
The second overall pick of the 2008 NFL Draft, Long has started 54 of 66 games during his professional career, notching 175 career tackles and 31 sacks. Last season, he started all 16 games at left defensive end and posted a career-high 13 sacks, the seventh most in the NFL and fourth most among defensive linemen.
“I’m extremely grateful to Chris for his contribution to the indoor facility,” said Virginia head football coach Mike London. “I know he still bleeds orange and blue and is very proud of the Virginia program and wants to see us succeed. This gift helps to make that happen. He was the epitome of a great college football player when he played for us and this generous gift shows that he didn’t stop being that when he his career ended here. He was a difference maker for us as a player and now he’s doing it again as an alum.”
London was Long’s position coach at Virginia for the 2004, 2006 and 2007 seasons. As a senior in 2007, Long became the third unanimous All-American in Virginia history and the 11th Cavalier player to receive consensus All-America status. He was named the ACC’s Defensive Player of the Year and won the Ted Hendricks Award as the nation’s outstanding defensive end.
He was a finalist for the Nagurski Trophy, Lombardi Award and the Lott Trophy. He finished third in the nation with 14 sacks and finished 10th in the voting for the Heisman Trophy. He had 22 quarterback sacks at UVa to rank eighth on the school’s all-time list. His 43 tackles for loss ranks third on Virginia’s all-time list. Prior to the final game of his senior season his jersey was retired, making him the first UVa player to have their jersey retired while still an active player.