CHESAPEAKE, VA (WTKR)- Tony Elliott has only been on the job for four months as Virginia's head football coach, but he's already making ground in the state.
Elliott was the speaker at the Chesapeake Sports Club's monthly luncheon on Monday, addressing club members as well as coaches from all seven Chesapeake high school football programs.
"I wasn't able to hit every high school throughout the state," Elliott told News 3 following his remarks. "I wanted to just have an opportunity to get in front of them so they could hear from me what the vision is of the program, what our vision is, how we plan to develop these young men on and off the field, so that they can have some kind of idea of what it would be like to send one of their players to play at UVA."
The lead Cavalier shared personal experiences that helped shape who he is today. He touched on how his mother passed away when he was very young, how his father was incarcerated and how sports saved his life.
"Especially dealing with young people nowadays, they want to see living, breathing examples," the head coach has observed. "I'm a living, breathing example of people investing in my life and seeing the value that I had, both on the field, but more importantly off the field and challenging me to step into those talents off the field."
Elliott came to UVA after 11 seasons at Clemson, where he was most recently the offensive coordinator and assistant head coach. He helped the Tigers win two national championships and oversaw one of the more high-powered offenses in the country.
"I'm just a regular person," Elliott noted. "Everybody talks about all of the success that we had at Clemson, and yes, I was a part of that, but at the end of the day that was a bi-product of everything else that went into it, the journey that we woud go on, the relationships that we had."
Assistant coaches Chris Slade and Marques Hagans, both natives of Hampton Roads, and Blanda Wolfe, who is the program's director of high school relations, joined Elliott at the event.
The head coach arrived in Charlottesville in December and immediately got to work. He assembled his staff and turned his attention to his players and recruiting. It's been a whirlwind for Elliott, but he's off and running as the head Wahoo.
"There's a lot going on, I'm still drinking from a fire hydrant, I've already screwed a few things up, I've got a couple things right," Elliott laughed. "I'm just really, really grateful to be the head coach at Virginia."
Elliott and the Cavaliers open up spring workouts on Monday, where the team will get its first on-field experience with the new staff.