University of Virginia Athletic Department
McCue Center - PO Box 400837
Charlottesville, VA 22904-4837
August 8, 2006
Dear Mr. Groh,
Now I know your title as Virginia Cavalier head coach has been extremely frustrating as of late, especially with the troubled offseason you and your program have being experiencing, as well as the recent success (or lack thereof) against in-state rival Virginia Tech, so on that note, I send this letter in the highest regard and respect for your program, free of any ill will. More specifically, however, this letter pertains to the recent news regarding one of the better players on your roster, Mr. Deyon Williams.
First of all, let me be the one to praise you for your coaching skills in turning Mr. Williams into such a talented prospect, with the young man currently having several impressive accomplishments to his name, all of which I am sure you are familiar, such as ranking amongst the top three in the conference last season in receptions, receiving yards, and touchdowns. The time you have spent nurturing this talent seems to have been well spent, and for that I commend you.
That being said however, I found it appropriate to mention a brief recommendation to you and your program on behalf of Mr. Williams' recent injury -- the stress fracture to his foot that he suffered earlier this week.
As I continue, please do realize that I say the following not knowing, perhaps, every detailed aspect of background information on the following issue, but, in addition to possessing a legitimate amount of football knowledge, as well as having read the report regarding Mr. Williams' injury, I have accumulated enough information on the topic to come up with a simple conclusion, which I offer to you.
Today's local area newspapers reported on Mr. Williams' injury, and for the following example, let's refer to the work of the renowned Hampton Roads newspaper, The Virginian-Pilot, whose sportswriter Ed Miller was all over yesterday's incident, writing about the costly loss of Williams that your program now has to address.
After reading the first few lines of the piece, which announced Williams had succumbed to a serious injury, being the devoted Hokie fan that I am, I grinned, for I always find it satisfying to relish in the misfortunes of your program. All in all though, Williams' particular story wasn't too much of a shock, seeing as all programs encounter injuries, and there really isn't anything you, as a coach, can do to prevent such things from occurring.
Or so I thought, until my eyes scrolled over the next line of the said article, which read something like this:
Williams, an All-ACC candidate, had been practicing since camp opened Friday but complained of soreness in his foot. Virginia head coach Al Groh said he did not recall which one.Immediately upon finishing that sentence, I stopped reading. Though I'm sure no other readers found that statement as nearly offensive as I did, I couldn't contain myself, forcing me to go as far as to type up this letter and speak my mind, giving you a simple piece of advice, perhaps letting you 'Groh for the Better'.
Which leads me, Mr. Groh, to my point. In regards to Mr. Williams' injury (and do correct me if I am wrong here), but wouldn't it have been ideal to pay a tad bit more attention to the needs of Mr. Williams, arguably your best offensive player, especially when he specifically told you he was in pain, as to avoid him suffering a major injury only days later?
On the contrary however, I know football players are expected to maintain an invincible, 'Bad to the Bone' mentality, showing no signs of weakness and playing through any degree of pain, but in this case -- during a mere training session in early August, is the participation of a player, and one of your best ones at that, all that necessary? Would it have been too much of a detriment to your program to let Mr. Williams sit out a week or two to recover? Regardless how you answer, now you've lost his skills for almost two months -- the estimated amount of time a player with an injury of this sort needs to fully heal.
In conclusion, though my opinions and background reasoning throughout this letter have been thorough and detailed in nature, my suggestion for you comes as a brief, simple bit of advice. I am sure you are kicking yourself for the way this incident has unfolded, so the following words are most likely an utter reiteration of what you have been thinking over the few days to do about the situation. Had you taken the simple time to address Williams' mild situation (when it was first presented to you), you quite possibly could have prevented his resulting injury. Your lack of judgment and decisive action just sums up the overall mediocrity of your performance during your tenure in Charlottesville, and things don't look to get better for your team anytime soon..
So, Mr. Groh, without further ado, here's my advice:
Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University
Class of 2008
Hey, there's always NASCAR.