AD: No Extra Year on Groh's Virginia Contract

Three years left on current deal

For the second time in three years, Virginia has declined to add a year to head football coach Al Groh's contract under a rollover clause, athletic director Craig Littlepage announced Sunday.

"Coach Groh has three years remaining on his current contract," Littlepage said in a statement released Sunday night. He said he and Groh would meet to review the football season within the next 48 hours.

Groh was out recruiting, according to the school, and did not immediately return an e-mail or a message left on his cell phone.

Groh's status has been a topic for the past three seasons, two of which ended in 5-7 records and with Virginia out of a bowl. The exception was last season, when they went 9-4 and lost in the Gator Bowl.

In eight seasons since leaving as head coach of the NFL's New York Jets to return to his alma mater, Groh is 56-44 overall and 34-30 in Atlantic Coast Conference games with five bowl appearances.

He has twice been named ACC coach of the year, including last season, and was rewarded with an additional year being added to his contract. His initial deal at Virginia was reworked in the summer of 2005, and the new package covered six years and had annual compensation of $1.7 million.

The Cavaliers finished up this season on Saturday, losing 17-14 at Virginia Tech in a game they needed to be eligible for bowl consideration.

Instead, the Hokies (8-4) won their fifth straight in the series and their ninth in the last 10 meetings and advanced to the ACC championship game for the third time in four years. Virginia Tech, which joined the ACC in 2004, has won two conference titles and played for it in 2005.

Virginia last shared the conference championship in 1995.

Littlepage, who said he would have no further comment on the matter, said earlier this month that Groh "will be our head coach" in 2009 after Virginia lost 28-17 at Wake Forest. Since then, the Cavaliers extended their skid to four games with close losses to Clemson and the Hokies.

The season-ending slide came on the heels of a four-game winning streak that, for a time, had Virginia leading the ACC's Coastal Division.

After Saturday's loss, senior outside linebacker Clint Sintim said Groh deserves to return, calling him a "great coach" and "the reason why I've been so successful here at the University of Virginia."

Sintim, like many Cavaliers before him under Groh, is expected to be a high draft choice in the NFL Draft, and Groh's detractors contend his record should be better considering all the top talent he's coached.

"He's here every morning at 4 and he's the last one to leave," Sintim said. "He puts everything he has into this team. He loves this team."

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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