Charlottesville, Va. – The Virginia athletics department announced today the lineup of speakers and program details for Saturday’s Celebration of Life tribute for former Cavalier head football coach George Welsh. The event will take place at 10 a.m. at John Paul Jones Arena and is free to the public. Free parking is available in the JPJ and McCue Center parking lots.
The ceremony will be streamed live on Facebook and Twitter on the VirginiaCavaliers accounts.
Washington Post columnist John Feinstein will serve as the master of ceremonies. He covered Welsh during his coaching career, later wrote a best-selling book on the Army-Navy rivalry (A Civil War) and served as a color analyst on the Navy radio network for 14 seasons.
A variety of speakers will offer their memories and stories of Welsh from his coaching tenures at Penn State, the Naval Academy and Virginia.
Former Nittany Lion players Franco Harris, Lydell Mitchell and Charlie Pittman will recall the impact Welsh made on them in his first coaching position at Penn State.
Bob Tata, Jr., a former standout placekicker at Navy who was a graduate assistant coach for Welsh at UVA and long-time Cavalier assistant football coach Tom O’Brien will recall stories from Welsh’s tenure at the Academy and on Grounds.
A players panel led by UVA standout Rondé Barber will share stories from Welsh’s 19-season stint at Virginia. The panel also includes Nick Merrick, Sean Scott, Shawn Moore, Anthony Poindexter and Chris Slade.
Current UVA head football coach Bronco Mendenhall will offer remarks as well as Welsh’s former coaching peer Bill Curry, Sr.
Several videos highlighting Welsh’s accomplishments will be presented as well as remarks from two of his children, Adam and Kate Welsh.
Welsh served as the head football coach at Virginia from 1982 to 2000. During that 19-year period, he compiled a record of 134-86-3 and retired as the winningest coach in ACC history. In 1991, he was awarded the Bobby Dodd Award as the national coach of the year. Welsh was named the ACC Coach of the Year four times – 1983, 1984, 1991 and 1995. He passed away at the age of 85 on Jan. 2 in Charlottesville.