Mike London's fifth season as head coach of the Virginia football team will likely decide his future with the university, after the Cavaliers have gone 6-18 in the last two seasons.
"I'd be lying if I said we're hearing that he's not on the hot seat, because we do hear the chatter," senior running back Kevin Parks said of London on Monday at the ACC Kickoff. "I'm going to do everything in my will, I'm going to try and get everybody aboard to do everything in their will to keep him aboard."
In four seasons at UVa, London has led the Cavaliers to an 18-31 overall record, including an 8-24 conference record. On Monday, the 'Hoos were picked to finish last in the Coastal Division in the conference's preseason media poll.
"I am a coach that is committed 100% to the development of this team, the moving forward of this program, to accepting the challenges that lay ahead of us," London said. "Those are my focal points. It's a committed staff, I'm a committed person. Again, the challenges that lay ahead, we all recognize it, from player to staff to everyone who works with the football program. But we embrace the challenge."
Despite struggling for two years, London said that winning is an expectation for his team coming into the 2014 season. The 'Hoos head coach emphasized the experience of his roster, with 16 starters returning from last season.
"There's a level of where we are now that we haven't been in the past," he said. "There's an experience level that demands an expectation of performance. We're older, we're more unified, and the guys are ready to play. The coordinators are back and so the systems and schemes are intact. The experience of guys that have played in college football games are there."
One of the biggest differences from 2013 will be the size of the Cavaliers' senior class. After having eight seniors on the roster at this point last year, UVa now has 22 seniors. One of those, safety and captain Anthony Harris, says the team knows what's at stake for London this fall.
"He's touched a lot of our lives, whether it's giving us the opportunity to come here, just talking with us through family issues and just dealing with stuff that people deal with in their everyday life," Harris said. "We feel like he's really shaped us, not just as football players but as men. We want to repay him and get a winning season."