Hall of Fame college football coach George Welsh dies

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) — George Welsh, who coached football at Virginia for 19 years and retired as the Atlantic Coast Conference’s career victories leader, has died.

The school made the announcement in a release Friday, saying Welsh’s family says he died peacefully in Charlottesville on Wednesday. He was 85.

Welsh compiled a 134-86-3 record at Virginia from 1982-2000. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2004, and the school named its indoor practice facility for him when it was completed in 2013.

“I am saddened to hear that Coach Welsh passed away this week,” Virginia coach Bronco Mendenhall said Friday on Twitter. “My condolences go out to his family. He was a true pioneer for UVA football and provided the model of success we are working hard to replicate. We will miss his frequent visits to the football offices.”

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A former quarterback at Navy who finished third in the Heisman Trophy balloting as a senior, Welsh took over a Cavaliers program that was sometimes derided as “Cadavaliers” because it had had just two winning seasons in 29 years. He guided Virginia to an 8-2-2 record in his third season, which ended with the school’s first appearance in a bowl game. The Cavaliers faced Purdue in the Peach Bowl, winning 27-24.

Welsh guided Virginia to bowl games 11 more times during his tenure and, in 1990, their only No. 1 ranking. Virginia also shared the ACC title twice, in 1989 and 1995. Welsh was recognized with the Bobby Dodd Award in 1991 as the national coach of the year and was the ACC’s coach of the year four times.

Welsh also coached at Navy from 1973-81, compiling a 55-46-1 record.

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