Jets’ coach Groh resigns, Virginia-bound

HEMPSTEAD, New York, Reuters

Al Groh has resigned as coach of the New York Jets to take over at the University of Virginia, the team said on Saturday.

Groh, 56, succeeds George Welsh, who retired after 19 seasons at the school.

“I think teaching is what I do best,” Groh said of his decision to return to his alma mater. “I’ve always taken a lot of pride in my ability to communicate with players and tell them in an honest and straightforward manner what they need to get better.”

Speculation is swirling that Jets director of football operations Bill Parcells may consider a return to the sidelines. He coached the Jets to the AFC championship game two years ago but resigned after the 1999 season and said he no longer would coach.

The Jets organization was shaken when Parcells resigned as coach after the 1999 season but remained as the director of football operations. His designated successor, Bill Belichick, turned down the Jets’ coaching job and left to become coach of the New England Patriots.

After Belichick’s stunning rejection, Parcells advised Jets owner Robert Wood Johnson to hire Groh, who was the team’s linebacker coach for the previous three seasons.

The Jets appeared headed to the playoffs with a 9-4 record in Groh’s first season, but lost their last three games.