Cavalier Corner

June 2014

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internally. There weren't many people I could talk to at that time. "It made me stronger as a leader," Coley added, "and made others be able to acknowledge that somebody else has been at the bottom and worked their way back, why can't I do the same thing? I'm a team captain now, you know?" Alongside the other team leaders, Coley said one of their most important jobs is making sure that teammates are well aware of the standards expected of them. It's not an easy conversation, but it's a necessary one. "We have to be that because we're the older guys and we're the ones that guys look up to," Coley said. "We have to do right by these guys at all times, in all phases of life because if you're a troublemaker or whatever, man, you're causing rifts and that can't happen. Guys are at that point where we have to step up, and I think we're stepping into those shoes right now." London remembers well the day that he in- formed Coley about his suspension. He had no way of knowing that the former Bayside standout would respond the way he has. "I told him that his or anyone else's action aren't seen by just the coach or players," London recalled. "It's seen by everyone. I told him, 'One day you'll be in a leadership position and your ac- tion will either be mimicked or used as a negative by other people.' It's an awesome responsibility when you become a leader. "I remember that conversation because at the moment, it was about him and his actions and why he wouldn't be playing," London added. "But as he's turned that situation around and responded to it, it speaks to how everyone can react to adver- sity. I told him one day he'd be a leader and here he is. He's handled it the right way." The adversity that Coley faced was made some- what more difficult by the fact that UVa parted ways that offseason with four assistant coaches, including defensive coordinator Jim Reid. But when Jon Tenuta arrived on Grounds, he ended up being just what Coley needed. "He gave me my life back," Coley said simply. "He gave me a clean slate. That was a big blow to my psyche, losing Coach Reid. But Coach Te- nuta, he came in that first day and had this certain demeanor, this certain attitude, this mindset that I liked from a football coach because that's what I grew up with. "He just challenged me mentally each and ev- ery day. He always gave me words of encouragement. He doesn't want to pat you on the back too much, now, but he'll encourage you. He keeps you grounded and humble. He challenges you mentally, and I definitely have grown as a man, as a football player, because of him." Looking back, London said it's hard to appreci- ate just what kind of example Coley sets for his teammates. "I've seen guys stay sour for a while and not re- ally come out of it," London said. "I think Henry's a smart guy and he realized what he did was out of line and he was big enough to admit it and turn it around. Some guys can't come back from that. They have animosity. They stay angry and blame everyone but themselves. He learned from it and turned it into a positive." After the annual spring game in April, Coley came into the media room at Scott Stadium and fielded questions not only about his own spring but also that of his team coming off a 2-10 season. Their sense of urgency, paired with a better sense of camaraderie within the team, is the key in his mind. "Opportunity comes by chance," Coley said. "Readiness never does." ◆ "Being a leader, it's not something that happens to you overnight. It's a journey." COLEY i20-21.Henry Coley.indd 3 6/3/14 2:35 PM

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