As we charge towards a new college football season, expectations for Virginia’s two top tier programs are arguably at an all time low. The Virginia Cavaliers are coming off their seventh losing season in eight years, while the cross state rival Virginia Tech Hokies are coming off a fourth straight season where they failed to finish in the AP Top 25. As a result, both schools chose to hit the reset button on their respective programs this offseason and brought in new head coaches. Former BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall heads to Charlottesville; former Memphis head coach Justin Fuente is coming to Blacksburg.
Mendenhall inherits a program that has seen a steady decline since the legend George Welsh left following the 2000 season. During Welsh’s nineteen year tenure, the Cavaliers reached a bowl game twelve times, and finished the year ranked in the AP Top 25 six times, the latter of which has only happened twice in the fifteen years since.
After Welsh, Al Groh piloted the Wahoos to five bowl games in nine seasons, but was let go following the 2009 season. In 2010, the reigns were then passed to Mike London, who had just won a national championship at the FCS level with the Richmond Spiders two years prior. Unfortunately for London–despite his success on the recruiting trail–the Cavaliers slid further down college football’s totem pole. During London’s six seasons, UVA played in just one bowl game.
In his eleven years at BYU, Mendenhall never had a losing season and reached a bowl game each year after inheriting a program that had come off three straight losing seasons. However, the optimism around Mendenhall extends past his track record on the field. Brigham Young has high academic expectations (a top 100 university nationally according to US News & World Report) along with a rigid religious component (affiliated with the Church of Latter Day Saints), making recruiting a more difficult task for a sport like football where there are 85 scholarships to fill. Mendenhall will face similar challenges from an academic standpoint at UVA, which is a member of the prominent Association of American Universities.
Meanwhile, Fuente will be trying to resurrect a program that once had eight consecutive double digit win seasons before falling to mediocrity over the last four years, averaging seven wins during that time frame. He will be replacing the man who put Hokie football on the national map, Frank Beamer.
Prior to Beamer’s arrival in 1987 Virginia Tech had finished in the AP Top 25 just twice in its history, a feat they would go on to do sixteen times in his 29 seasons to go along with 22 bowl appearances including a national runner up finish in 1999. As a result of his success on the field, the Hokies went from an Independent program to joining the Big East conference in 1991 and eventually joined the ACC in 2004. As the program gained more national exposure during these transitions, the caliber of recruits elevated–particularly at QB–throughout the 2000’s.
However, recruiting is a younger man’s game and the head coaches in the ACC, specifically at national powers Florida State and Clemson, have gotten younger over the past half decade and become more attractive options for recruits. As much as Hokie fans love Beamer it became hard to ignore the decline in recruiting over the final five years of his tenure.
At age 40, Fuente only brings four years of head coaching experience to Blacksburg, but in those four years he took a Memphis program that won three games in the two years prior to his arrival to ten wins by his third season. A big reason for that turnaround was being able to land QB Paxton Lynch, who was drafted in the first round by the Denver Broncos this past spring. During the high points of Beamer’s run, quarterback play was elite (I know we all think defense and special teams aka “Beamer Ball”, but hear me out on this one). During the two years he had Michael Vick as a starter the Hokies were 22-2, finishing 2nd and 6th in the final AP Poll. Two of Beamer’s other three top 10 finishes came in 2007 and 2010, with Tyrod Taylor at the helm (split time with Sean Glennon in 07) who compiled a 23-5 record as a starter during his career in Blacksburg.
The point here is Fuente, who is a former college QB himself, has shown he has an eye for spotting NFL caliber talent at the position where the Hokies have been below average during their decline the last few seasons.
While we all know change doesn’t happen overnight and Rome certainly wasn’t built in a day, you still have to lay the first brick. It appears as if these two schools have laid the right foundation for the future of their football programs, but will it translate to “Ws” on Saturday? Fortunately we don’t have much longer to wait.
Preview: Kickers One Win From Championship
With a win against Chattanooga on Saturday the Kickers would face Greenville for the USL League Championship.
Opponent: Chattanooga Red Wolves (5-5-4)
Date/Time: Saturday, October 24th, 6:30
Last Result: Kickers 3 – Orlando 1
Weather Forecast from WeatherBug.com
Three Things to Kick About
- Daryl Grove – It’s with an extremely heavy heart we share the news of the passing a Richmond soccer legend Daryl Grove. Daryl was one half of the Total Soccer Show and devoted to the growth of soccer and was an all-around great guy. He will be missed.
- Terzaghi – Leading Golden Boot winner didn’t make the trip down to Orlando on Wednesday after picking up a knock on Saturday. Every single Kickers fan is hoping to see him on the field this Saturday.
- Win and In – It’s that simple. The more complicated version is that the Kickers need to tie Omaha’s result. Omaha kicks off after the Kickers game so the Kicker just have to win and take any guesswork out of the equation.
I’m honestly too nervous to think rationally and feel that predicting anything but a win will cast bad vibes on the team. So gotta go with a Kickers win.
Kickers 1 – Chattanooga 0
Official Richmond Kickers Preview
Midfielder Mutaya Mwape (#10) scored his first goal the season to level the score against Orlando Wednesday. The Zambian made his 12th appearance this season, and seventh start to go with an assist. Forward Stanley Alves (#9) made his third start of the season and scored his first professional goal against Orlando. A product of University of Massachusetts, Lowell, Alves has played in ten matches in his rookie season. Forward Oalex Anderson (#15) scored his first goal for the Kickers as the insurance goal at OCB. Joining later in the season, Anderson made his second start and fifth appearance for Richmond.
Chattanooga Red Wolves SC
Forward Greg Hurst (#11) leads Chattanooga in scoring with seven goals this season. He sits tied for second overall in the league behind Emiliano Terzaghi with his ten goals. Forward Mark Hernandez (#20) has four assists this season to lead the team. The Anaheim, Ca. native also has three goals in 11 matches this season for the Red Wolves. Goalkeeper Alex Mangels (#24) is in his second season in Chattanooga and holds a 1.14 goals against average heading into Saturday’s match in Richmond. The product of the University of California, Berkeley has three clean sheets through 14 matches.
CarMax Tacky Light Run reimagined with virtual and road-based courses for 2020
The CarMax Tacky Light Run, originally scheduled for Saturday, December 12, won’t be held as a traditional single day, in-person event, and event organizers will instead offer multiple ‘Official Courses’ for registered participants to use.
The CarMax Tacky Light Run, originally scheduled for Saturday, December 12, won’t be held as a traditional single day, in-person event, and event organizers will instead offer multiple ‘Official Courses’ for registered participants to use. Courses will be open December 11-December 13 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., and a virtual option is also available for participants to complete their run or walk on a course of their own choosing as well.
One of the planned courses will utilize the Walton Park neighborhood, one of the area’s most festive collections of holiday lights and elaborate decorations, and the traditional site of the CarMax Tacky Light Run.
Now in its eighth year, the holiday-themed fun run combines one of Richmond’s favorite traditions – tacky holiday lights – with a celebration of active living. Registration is now open with pricing for adults ($18) and youth age 14 and under ($12), and, in addition to the marked and measured course options, registration also includes a long-sleeve event participant shirt, packet mailing, participant race bib, and a $5 discount to register for the 2021 CarMax Tacky Light Run.
All registered participants will also be automatically entered into a contest for a special CarMax Tacky Light Run prize pack. Optional add-ons to registration include a commemorative CarMax Tacky Light Run 2020 ornament, holiday-themed merchandise, and glow kits.
“We are excited that Sports Backers has come up with a creative solution to keep the tradition of this fun and festive event going this year,” said Leslie Parpart, Director of Community Relations at CarMax. “The CarMax Tacky Light Run has become a much-anticipated annual event for residents and families all over the Richmond region and we’re honored to be the lead sponsor for the eighth consecutive year.”
Each official CarMax Tacky Light Run course will have signage, mile markers, and passive traffic calming measures to promote the safety of participants. Event organizers will also provide additional support including lighting and other safety measures while courses are open from December 11-December 13.
“The CarMax Tacky Light Run has grown to become one of Richmond’s favorite holiday activities and we’re excited to offer this new event format for participants to take part in a festive and active way while following public health guidelines to support the health and safety of participants, volunteers, and staff,” said Molly Johnson, Event Director for Sports Backers. “We’re thankful for the continued support of CarMax and Chesterfield County and we look forward to the opportunity to celebrate in a new format in December.”
Participants will also be encouraged to dress up in their best, brightest, and tackiest holiday gear, and the CarMax Tacky Light Run Costume Contest will reward the top costumes in the categories of ‘Best Tacky Sweater,’ ‘Merry and Bright: Brightest Dressed,’ and ‘Best Overall: Individual and Group.’ Costume contest participants can submit photos to [email protected] or post on social media and tag @TackyLight Run, @SportsBackers or #NeverTooTacky.
Kids Run RVA will serve as the official event charity for the CarMax Tacky Light Run. Kids Run RVA is an initiative of Sports Backers that reaches thousands of young people and provides run clubs and fitness opportunities in schools and neighborhoods across the Richmond region, including many underserved communities.
Kids Run RVA gives youth the chance to have fun while being physically active in their own communities and gets thousands of kids moving throughout the Richmond area on a daily basis, with the goal of establishing healthy habits early in life that are critical to the long-term physical, emotional, and social development of all children. Kids Run RVA works to break down barriers and provide all kids the opportunity to participate in daily physical activity.
For more information on the CarMax Tacky Light Run, please visit www.sportsbackers.org.
Photos and Game Summary: Kickers Stumble at Home
The Kickers still control their destiny but Saturday’s loss did not help the cause.
Official Kickers Game Summary
The Richmond Kickers (7-5-2) were defeated by South Georgia Tormenta FC (4-6-4) 0-1 at City Stadium Saturday night. Marco Micaletto scored the lone goal of the night just before halftime to down Richmond at home.
Scott Thomsen came up with a massive block in the 17th minute to keep Tormenta off the board. Stefan Muells found the space to get a cross in front of goal that seemed to slip through to Marco Micaletto at the back post. He quickly twisted around to go for a shot as Thomsen got his foot in the way for the block.
Emiliano Terzaghi was denied in the first half stoppage from getting the Kickers on the board. Matt Bolduc chipped the ball over the top for Jonathan Bolanos making a run up the right wing. Before reaching the endline, he managed to lay the ball off for Terzaghi. He looked for an opening for a shot that ended up being blocked and eventually cleared.
Tormenta broke the deadlock just before the halftime whistle. Nil Vinyals picked up control of the ball at midfield and made his run right up the center of the pitch. He slotted his pass through as Micalletto got to the ball. His shot skipped under Akira Fitzgerald and into the goal.
A massive save from Fitzgerald kept South Georgia from picking up a second in the 58th minute. Curtis Thorn found the space to get the ball through for Josh Phelps, who attempted to take a one-time shot. Fitzgerald got his body in the way to deflect it away from the Richmond goal.
The woodwork came to the rescue for Richmond in the 74th minute. Ricardo Gomez was able to fight off Stanley Alves and noticed Fitzgerald off his line. He went for the shot from about 30 yards out that pinged off the crossbar and over for a Richmond goal kick.
Matt Bolduc came close to finding an equalizer in the 80th minute. Coming off a goal kick from Fitzgerald, Alves took control of the ball and looked towards goal. Bolduc made a run up the right wing, just in time for Alves to find him. Bolduc cut towards the center of the field looking for an opening. With two defenders on him, he went for the shot that Pablo Jara needed to dive for to deny him.
South Georgia would be reduced to ten men in second half stoppage time. Two minutes after receiving his first yellow card, Micaletto was called for a foul just outside of the Tormenta box. As he got to his feet, he got into an altercation with Bolduc whom he had just fouled. The referee pulled out a second yellow card followed by a red to send him off.
Richmond: Akira Fitzgerald, Scott Thomsen, Ivan Magalhaes, Kyle Venter, Matt Bolduc, Victor Falck, Ryley Kraft, Emiliano Terzaghi, Jonathan Bolanos (76’ – David Diosa), Luke Pavone (66’ – Stanley Alves), Oalex Anderson (58’ – Wahab Ackwei)
Unused Substitutes: Lee Johnston, Gianluca Cuomo, Mumbi Kwesele, Greg Boehme
South Georgia: Pablo Jara, Curtis Thorn, Jordan Shelton, Josh Phelps (70’ – Jad Arslan), Lars Eckenrode, Stefan Mueller, Ricardo Gomez (90’ – Lucas Coutinho), Abuchi Obinwa, Nil Vinyals, Daniel Jackson (83’ – Devyn Jambga), Marco Micaletto
Unused Substitutes: Paul Lewis, Rhys Williams, Tunde Akinlosotu, Mikie Rowe
Assistant Referees: Jonah Kind, William Aten
Fourth Official: Jeffrey Skinker
Weather: Clear, 57 ºF