London hoping for happy CAA homecoming

BALTIMORE, Md. (CBS19 SPORTS) -- Ten years ago, reigning FCS national champion Richmond was voted the preseason co-favorite to win the CAA football title. The Spiders wound up winning the conference title and getting back to the FCS semifinals -- then lost head coach Mike London to Virginia following the season.

A decade later, London is back in the CAA. He was at the conference's preseason media day in Baltimore on Tuesday, talking about his first year as head coach at William and Mary.

"Life is kind of surreal, in terms of the opportunity to come back to a place that I was an assistant," London said. "I was an assistant back in the mid-'90s at William and Mary. And to come back and be the head coach now is something that's been a blessing, and a great opportunity for me."

One of London's first stops as a college assistant came at William and Mary, where he was Jimmye Laycock's defensive line coach from 1991-94. A quarter-century later, London was hired to replace the retiring Laycock following the 2018 football season.

London's tenure as UVA head coach was highlighted by the 2011 season, when he won eight regular-season games, won ACC coach of the year and led the Wahoos to the Chick-fil-A Bowl. London left the school after the 2015 season, with a 27-46 record in six seasons with the Cavaliers.

After a season as an assistant at Maryland, London went 11-10 the past two years as head coach at Howard. But his best success as a head coach came at his alma mater. London went 24-5 in his two seasons at Richmond, including that 2008 FCS title campaign.

London's first William and Mary team was picked 11th in the 12-team CAA in the league's preseason poll, released Tuesday. The schedule also includes a return to Scott Stadium for London on September 6, when the Tribe visits UVA, the preseason pick to win the ACC's Coastal Division.

But on Tuesday, London was confident that his return to Williamsburg -- and his return to the CAA -- was the right move.

"My parents live in Hampton, Virginia. My wife's brother lives in Newport News, Virginia. This was my first job," London said. "I know about the culture and the standards here. I'm willing to embrace the student-athlete, the profile of the student-athlete that I think we need. I know you can win in this conference. It's indicative of the national champions that are in this conference. And it's home."

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