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January 30, 2013

UVa hires Fairchild as offensive coordinator

Just one day after former assistant coach Bill Lazor left UVa for an opportunity to serve as the quarterbacks coach for Chip Kelly with the Philadelphia Eagles, Virginia has plucked his replacement from the NFL.

On Wednesday afternoon, the university and head coach Mike London announced that the school has hired former San Diego Chargers assistant Steve Fairchild to be the next offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.

Fairchild brings 31 years of coaching experience at both the NFL and collegiate levels, including 16 seasons as an offensive coordinator. This past season, he was the senior offensive assistant for the Chargers after a four-year stint as the head coach at Colorado State and stops with the Buffalo Bills and St. Louis rams.

Fairchild's time at CSU included the highest-ranked recruiting class in program history and a victory in the 2008 New Mexico Bowl.

"Steve Fairchild brings a wealth of experience to Virginia and when you look at the offenses of the teams he has coached, you see high achievement," London said. "Throughout his career you find Steve was a part of coaching staffs that have had tremendous offensive success and we are really fortunate to have him join our staff. Larry Lewis spoke very highly of Steve as they worked together at Colorado State."

At Colorado State, Fairchild also was the offensive coordinator (1997-2000) and quarterbacks coach (1993-96) during the Rams' football rise. From 1993-2000 Colorado State won the Western Athletic Conference three times and the Mountain West Conference twice and was nationally ranked at various times during that span.

During Fairchild's four seasons as the offensive coordinator, three Colorado State players were honored as the league's offensive player of the year and the Rams won three bowl games.

"I am very excited to join the football program at the University of Virginia," Fairchild said. "I can't wait to get started. I'm excited about the type of football team we can have and anxious to get to Charlottesville and get to work.

Fairchild was a part of San Diego State's high-octane offenses that were highlighted by future NFL great Marshall Faulk and quarterback Dan McGwire. During Fairchild's three seasons at San Diego State from 1990-92, the Aztecs enjoyed three straight top-10 finishes in scoring and total offense. His first stint at San Diego State was for the 1986 season as the Aztecs' recruiting coordinator and tight ends coach, working with second-round NFL selection Rob Awalt. Fairchild also spent two years at New Mexico as the offensive coordinator where the Lobos ranked No. 8 in passing offense and No. 29 in total offense. Under his guidance, Terrance Mathis became the first player to have more than 250 receptions, 4,000 receiving yards and 6,000 yards of total offense.

Fairchild has spent a total of eight seasons in the NFL, working as the offensive coordinator for the Bills in 2006 and 2007 when quarterback J.P. Losman posted the 11th-best QB rating in the NFL in 2006 and passed for 3,051 yards.

Prior to his stint with the Bills, Fairchild was the offensive coordinator for the Rams from 2003-05. Teaming up again with Faulk, the Rams enjoyed three straight top-10 finishes in total offense, including the NFL's second-ranked scoring offense in 2003 and quarterback Marc Bulger was the 2003 Pro Bowl MVP.

Fairchild's first NFL stint came in Buffalo in 2001 and 2002 where he was the running backs coach and boasted two Pro Bowl running backs, Larry Centers (the NFL career reception and yardage holder for running backs) and Travis Henry.

"Steve Fairchild is a coach that has been at a number of places and has had a great deal of success," said Virginia Executive Associate Athletics Director Jon Oliver. "He has been a head coach, he has worked in the NFL, and he has been a coordinator at the collegiate and professional levels. He is known as a solid recruiter and when he was at Colorado State they had the highest-ranked recruiting class in that institution's history. We are excited to have Steve join the program and it is one more step to help us move forward."

Oliver, via a statement, also said that patience with the changes in Charlottesville will be key. Virginia replaced four assistants, including a new defensive coordinator.

"We are in the process of implementing new systems on both sides of the ball," Oliver explained. "These types of changes take time and we will need to be patient as we seek to improve this football program."

Fairchild began his coaching career in 1982 as the offensive coordinator at San Diego Mesa Community College. After two seasons he moved to Ferris State as the offensive coordinator from 1984-85.

Fairchild is a 1981 graduate of Colorado State, where he spent three seasons as a quarterback and earned All-WAC second-team honors behind BYU's Jim McMahon. He earned a bachelor of arts in economics from Colorado State and later a master of education from Azusa Pacific in 1983.

A native of Decatur, Ill., he is married to to the former Nancy A. Kolstoe and the couple has two daughters, Lindsey and Jill.

According to the university, Fairchild's initial contract is for two years. He will receive annual compensation totaling $450,000 with all funds coming from the athletics department and none coming from state funding sources.


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