Groh is a Georgia Tech man

Al Groh is a Georgia Tech man. Specifically, he’s fond of the players he coaches and people he works with.

It’s all about the relationships.

Though he will be facing Virginia, the school he recently coached as well as his alma mater and that of his two sons, on Saturday Groh wanted to make it clear that there won’t be any issues of allegiance this week.

He drew on an example of his days coaching in the NFL to emphasize his point.

“When I coached at the Patriots I was a Patriots guy,” Groh said. “We went to the Super Bowl and 10 days later were with the Jets, getting ready to play the Patriots twice a year. I was a Jets guy then.”

It’s the relationships, not the history, that Groh cherishes.

He was hired as defensive coordinator by Paul Johnson after spending nine up-and-down years as head coach at Virginia. In the end, he was fired by his alma mater after going 59-53 with consecutive sub-.500 seasons in his last two years. Many reasons were floated: the fan base had turned on him, recruiting was falling apart and, in something that Tech fans can relate to recently, an inability to beat their rival, Virginia Tech.

But Groh said on Tuesday that there are other parts to that history: teams he led posted some of the best wins, had the best seasons and featured the best players in Virginia’s history.Groh sounded neither affectionate nor aggravated when discussing the past. Possibly because, as he said a few times, history can’t be changed.

Groh did show warmth when talking about the men he once coached and coached beside. He said some of those people are his best friends, and that he hopes to build that kind of relationship with the Tech players he’s coaching now: “This is my team, a team that’s going to give me my sense of satisfaction and my relationships, or my sense of loss on an ongoing basis.”

In his last postgame press conference, following a 42-13 loss to the Hokies, Groh read a poem: “Guy in the Glass,” by Dale Wimbrow. It was a moment, which some described as bizarre, in which Groh told his supporters and detractors that he had devoted every day — vacations, Christmases, Thanksgivings, included — to thinking about his team and how he could make it better. He knew that he could look at his reflection and say he did the best job he could.

After Groh was let go, he said he got a lot of advice from well-meaning people who suggested that he had done enough to earn some time to do whatever he wanted: go to Europe, spend more time with family, which now includes two grandsons.

He said he turned to his wife, Anne, and said that coaching lets me be me.

He wanted to coach. Hence, the guy in the glass had no issue with becoming a coordinator again when Johnson reached out to him.

It will be an interesting encounter. Virginia’s new coach, Mike London, was hired by Groh as an assistant coach in 2001. They were together for six of seven seasons. There are other assistants that Groh hired who were retained by London.

Groh said that in terms of familiarity, Virginia will have an advantage on Saturday. They know better how Groh thinks because he spent hours teaching and working many of them. They have his playbook and his cut-ups.

“There’s no dilemma up there understanding how Al Groh thinks,” he said.

But Groh also knows the offensive plays, a few of which the Cavaliers’ new staff hasn’t changed.

But in the end, after Saturday’s game is over and Groh said he’s either feeling the satisfaction of a win, or the haunting disappointment of a week’s worth of work not being enough, it’s the people that are ultimately what’s important to him. He received a three-word message from a former staff member at Virginia which said ‘Good luck Saturday.”

It’s about the relationships.

“I’m not sentimental toward institutions, whether they are NFL institutions or NCAA institutions,” Groh said. “My sentiments, my emotions, my affections, my appreciation is for individuals.”

40 comments Add your comment

Outside Observer

October 5th, 2010
2:32 pm

We can’t lose to Virginia on homecoming twice in three years. It just can’t happen


October 5th, 2010
2:34 pm

Just win the Ball Game please.


October 5th, 2010
2:42 pm

only concerned how he does from here on..talked to him at picture day, he was happy about the home win streak post ‘90…

GT man

October 5th, 2010
2:48 pm

Just dont mess up the defense against UVA


October 5th, 2010
2:53 pm

Can we sit sucky Logan Walls out, and play TJ Barnes for crying out loud!!!!!! I hate Logan Walls, he gets beat everytime!!!


October 5th, 2010
2:55 pm

time to start forcing some fumbles and make the opposition pay the price early.. don’t let up for one second.


October 5th, 2010
2:58 pm

but he PRACTICES good(maybe should sava some for the game)!…Doug, you are the statsar, how about a deep look at the age(youth) & (in)experience of the lines, i don’t recall chan recruiting too many linemen when the scholys dropped…


October 5th, 2010
3:09 pm

Put Allen back at B back at let the big boys go up the gut.

Brave Hokie

October 5th, 2010
3:32 pm

Groh = Wahoo 101
[the smartest person in the room...]

Hope ya’ll don’t end up hating him as much as the rest of the world does…

Glory, Glory to manface Courtney

October 5th, 2010
3:36 pm


Allen plays B back now. He played A back last year.


October 5th, 2010
3:38 pm

I agree flajacket. AA is MUCH better at A back. He just moves better in the open field. Dwyer was great at going up the middle and keeping his legs moving and getting more yards. AA just doesn’t have that, its up the middle and done after 3-4 yards. Start cox at the b and start allen and roddy at the a’s. Give smith and bostic heavy reps as well.


October 5th, 2010
3:42 pm

Va is as bad as wake. If we lose to them, these coaches all need to be evaluated.

Reward for lost Jacket

October 5th, 2010
3:54 pm


October 5th, 2010
3:57 pm

London doesn’t even run a 3-4, and they have all of Groh’s old plays.

“Groh said that…Virginia will have an advantage on Saturday” hahaha why would you ever say that publicly? Wake is not as good as UVA…even when they aren’t benching key players. Jacketts are going to take this one on the chin


October 5th, 2010
3:57 pm

tech’s going to flatten virginia and then MTSU and get to 5 & 2. need to win these 2 games and get some rhythm & confidence going into the tougher part of the schedule.


October 5th, 2010
4:08 pm

I don’t care if he hates Tech, just coach the players. Lord to see some defense played in this state of Georgia by a division one college team before I die. Tech looks like the NBA on defense.


October 5th, 2010
4:18 pm

Matt Winkeljohn summed things up pretty good in his article at The Sting Daily…”the Yellow Jackets have within them the emotional components they need to be a good team.
Whether the Jackets have the physical wherewithal . . . that question is not yet answerable”.

The Jackets are missing the “big four” that went to the NFL much more than I thought they would. For starters, Tech is getting whipped……, badly, on both sides of the LOS. It’s not scheme or coaching. It’s a matter of being outmanned. Tech will definitely be in physical mismatches against Clemson, VaTech, Miami, and UGA. On a positive note, Tech doesn’t quit fighting and there is much room for improving other aspects of the game. For one, catching some balls and taking the heat off of the running game. But it all starts in the trenches and that is where Tech is getting whipped. Both offensively and defensively.

As long as they keep their fight in them, Tech has a chance to be in every game left on the schedule. But every miscue is magnified when you are getting whipped up front and a game can get ugly in a hurry if the Jackets aren’t careful. Keep up the fight Jackets ! Character and fortitude still stand for something.

Master of Analysis

October 5th, 2010
4:22 pm

Here’s believing Allen and Hill will both step up this week with their
best games.


October 5th, 2010
4:37 pm

Every time Orwin Smith gets the ball, good things happen. Soon the defense will jell, and those kids will began to make it hard on all offenses. I sure would like to see it in the next two games. Is everyone else happy to see the Bulldawgs eating their own.

Dog Gone It

October 5th, 2010
4:46 pm

Can I ask an honest question, and i promise i am not trying to talk some low-level smack??

What hurts Tech fans worse? When UGA is winning, and beats the crap out of you like expected, OR, when UGA is struggling, bad, and still beats the crap out of you??

See you Thanksgiving!!!! NERDS!!!

Munson's Toupee

October 5th, 2010
5:01 pm

Groh’s defense should see improvement against London’s crowd. I hope he beats them like a rented mule.

Dog Gone It

October 5th, 2010
5:07 pm

Can I ask an honest question, and i promise i am not trying to talk some low-level smack??

Should I take a job as a Burger Flipper so I dont have to call a GT grad boss or Should I take a job as a minimum wage office worker where I have to call a GT grad boss?

See you Thanksgiving!!!! NERDS!!!

mike vick

October 5th, 2010
5:07 pm


1-4 Powerhouse Soon to be 1-5

October 5th, 2010
5:09 pm

Dog Gone It….won’t happen this year we are in Athens and UGA sucks at home. THWG 45-42!!!


October 5th, 2010
5:43 pm

we actually play better in athens….so wots up wit #22?


October 5th, 2010
5:43 pm

From what I read, Hill seems to be pressing. He’s only a sophomore and needs to relax and stop trying to equal a first round draft pick. Just make the catch. There’s plenty of time to be a hero once you get a little confidence.


October 5th, 2010
5:45 pm

I didn’t realize the OL is as beat up as it is. I knew they were young but not about the injuries. A little healing and experience might make things go a little more like what we’re used to.

UGAG is gitting the ncaa death penalty, he he ha ha

October 5th, 2010
5:49 pm

Ah AJ sellin’s his used jock strap, the one Mark’s Rectum autographed. Someone call the NCAA!


October 5th, 2010
5:56 pm

The O-Line is struggling due to injuries and inexperience.

But…these WR’s (if you can even call them WR’s))

Sick & tired of seeing dropped passes
that hit WR’s right in the hands.


October 5th, 2010
6:50 pm

“My sentiments, my emotions, my affections, my appreciation is for individuals.”

I could not agree more.


October 5th, 2010
7:38 pm

Maybe he should share his Geritol with the team!

Trash Talkin Dawg

October 5th, 2010
7:59 pm

Terrific perspective on life! It is the people and enjoying life that makes everything worthwhile. As an avid sports fan it is often hard to get over a loss (even more so with 4 in a row) but life goes on. Wins and losses will come so take a breath, meet more people, and just enjoy the splendor of living. Regardless of what many believe there is likely nothing left after this life so live it graciously.


October 5th, 2010
8:23 pm

Groh is high on geritol

UVA will flatten teck

JacketGTfor life1964

October 5th, 2010
8:43 pm

GT Armchair Coach

October 5th, 2010
8:57 pm

Lame article.

Who cares if he’s a “Tech Man”.

All I know is his defensive players get pushed around every Saturday like choir boys.

Smart like a Fox

October 5th, 2010
9:08 pm

GDBurdell, you have picked Tech to lose every weekend since forever ! ( hows that working out for ya?) Hows the dogs gonna do this weekend?


October 5th, 2010
11:08 pm

Dog Gone It–Yes, Alton Brown is a nerdy UGA grad (Drama, class of 1984)


October 5th, 2010
11:09 pm

Who is GDBurdell? Never heard of George D.

Hayseed Dixie

October 5th, 2010
11:12 pm

Our offense needs to do it’s “Time of Possesion” thing.

Against NC State we got key stops early, and one turnover, but the offense went 3 and out way too often.

Just one or two drives extended by 5 minutes and 40 or so yards and that game turns out differently.

Woodruff Dining Hall

October 8th, 2010
1:30 pm

Move Allen back to A back and put Lyons in as the starting B. Allen wants to fumble every play just to see what it feels like but then forgets to pick the ball back up. Stephen Hill also has to actually start catching some balls.