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Mike Archer named new defensive assistant coach

Past stops include N.C. State, LSU, Virginia under George Welsh

Virginia football coach Mike London added Mike Archer to his staff Thursday as a defensive assistant coach, the team announced in a press release. Archer — an assistant at the school from 1991 to 1992 under George Welsh — was most recently the defensive coordinator at North Carolina State from 2007 to 2012 under current Virginia associate coach Tom O’Brien.

Archer brings head coaching experience to London’s staff, having served as the head coach at Louisiana State from 1987 to 1990. At the time of his hiring, he was the youngest head coach in Division I at 34. He led the Tigers to a 27-18-1 record in four seasons, including the 1988 Southeastern Conference championship.

Archer is the fourth current Virginia assistant to have previously served as a Division I head coach, joining offensive coordinator Steve Fairchild, special teams coordinator Larry Lewis and O’Brien. The team has not yet announced Archer’s specific role on London’s staff. After leaving LSU, Archer served two years as the linebackers coach at Virginia under Welsh.

“When I got fired at LSU after the ’90 season … coming here was a very refreshing change for myself and my family because football is important here, but it’s not 24 hours a day, 365 days a [year],” Archer said in his introductory press conference.

After leaving Virginia, Archer had stints at Kentucky from 1993 to 1995 and in the NFL with the Pittsburgh Steelers from 1996 to 2002. He returned to Kentucky in 2003 as the defensive coordinator before moving in 2007 to NC State in the same role. Current Virginia defensive coordinator Jon Tenuta served under Archer as the Wolfpack’s linebackers coach.

“When this opportunity came along, it interested me a great deal because of my relationship, number one, with Jon Tenuta,” Archer said. “We go back to when I was a young coach at LSU and he was coaching at Marshall, and we exchanged an awful lot of ideas. We spent three years at NC State together, and I feel like we had some pretty good defenses there.”

Archer’s NC State defense tallied a school record 27 interceptions in 2011, leading the nation and providing the second-best effort in ACC history. The performance helped guide the Wolfpack to an 8-5 record and a win in the Belk Bowl against Louisville. After O’Brien and his staff were dismissed following the 2012 season, Archer spent time looking for a new way to continue coaching.

“When you’ve done something as long as I have and you’re as competitive as I am, the itch was there,” Archer said. “I wanted to get back into it in the right situation, and I felt like this was the right situation.”

At Virginia, Archer and fellow new hire Jappy Oliver will help to fill the departures of Anthony Poindexter and Vincent Brown for Connecticut. They will also look to help a Cavalier defense that gave up 403.6 yards per game to its opponents, the fourth worst mark in the ACC.

“I’m very appreciative of the opportunity, and I’m looking forward to the challenge of helping this football team get better,” Archer said.