Former players and family celebrate the life of George Welsh

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 SPORTS) -- Few could bring so many together, be a part of so many stories and bring so much laughter like George Welsh.

"It would take George to get this many guys back together and I think that's a testament to him," former UVA cornerback Ronde Barber said.

Though many described the late Virginia football coach as prickly, it was clear the impact he had looking out into the crowd.

"You talk to so many of the players they would just say he was kind of an old, grouchy, crusty guy that didn't have a personality and all those things are true," former defensive end Chris Slade said. "But when you look back you'll say I'm glad he was difficult."

"He was a caring guy," former UVA quarterback Shawn Moore said. "And so we had a chance to really get to know him and some of the best conversations we had were just sitting in the kitchen and listening to coach talk about football."

"By the outpouring of support from his ex-players and people that knew him well," Barber said looking at the crowd. "It's evident what he did to people's lives not just as a football coach."

Players from Penn State to Navy and Virginia shared stories that shaped the legacy of the College Football Hall of Famer.

"He came to a terrible program in Navy and made them a winner, came to a terrible program in Virginia and made them a winner," Barber said of the work Welsh did as a coach. "So his legacy is succeeding beyond all odds."

"Now I realize how hard it was to come to a place that hadn't won and to be able to turn this program," former UVA safety Anthony Poindexter said. "Have them number one in the country and then however many years it was to win seven or more games, it's amazing really."

But Welsh's lasting impact will be the people he's intertwined forever.

"Just the culture coach had built here, we're all like a brotherhood," Poindexter said. "Even when he passed away I made a post about the fraternity, the best fraternity that you could ever join is the UVA football family, so it's a credit to coach and what he built here."

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