With the hiring of Steve Fairchild as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach on Wednesday, Virginia wasted no time in finding a replacement for Bill Lazor.
A day after Lazor left U.Va. to take a position on the Philadelphia Eagles' coaching staff, U.Va. announced Fairchild will fill the roles vacated by Lazor. Fairchild, 54, comes to U.Va. after serving as the senior offensive assistant this season for the San Diego Chargers.
"I can't wait to get started," Fairchild said in a release from U.Va.'s athletic department. "I'm excited about the type of football team we can have and anxious to get to Charlottesville and get to work."
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Fairchild will earn $450,000 in total annual compensation, according to U.Va.'s athletic department. His initial contract is for two years.
In addition to his experience with the Chargers, Fairchild was the coach at Colorado State from 2008 to '11. He led the Rams to a 7-6 mark and a win in the New Mexico Bowl in '08 against Fresno State, before having three consecutive 3-9 seasons.
Larry Lewis, who was hired this month to be U.Va.'s special-teams coordinator and running backs coach, was on Fairchild's staff for all four seasons at Colorado State. Lewis was Colorado State's associate head coach, running backs and fullbacks coach, and special teams coordinator in 2011 under Fairchild.
Earlier this month, U.Va. also hired Tom O'Brien to be its associate head coach for offense and tight ends coach, Jon Tenuta to be its associate head coach for defense, defensive coordinator and linebackers coach, promoted Hampton High graduate Marques Hagans from graduate assistant to wide receivers coach and added recruiting coordinator to the job description of cornerbacks coach Chip West. O'Brien, Fairchild and Lewis all have college head coaching experience.
"We are in the process of implementing new systems on both sides of the ball," U.Va. executive associate athletic director Jon Oliver said in the release. "These types of changes take time and we will need to be patient as we seek to improve this football program."
Fairchild has 31 seasons of experience as a college or NFL coach, including 16 seasons as an offensive coordinator. He was the offensive coordinator for the Buffalo Bills in the '06 and '07 seasons, and for the St. Louis Rams from '03 through '05.
Fairchild, a native of Decatur, Ill., who played quarterback at Colorado State from 1978-80, also held offensive coordinator roles at Colorado State from 1997-2000, New Mexico from '87-89, Ferris State in '84 and '85 and San Diego Mesa Community College in '82 and '83. His long-standing relationship with Colorado State also included a stint from '93 through '96 as quarterbacks coach.
"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," U.Va. coach Mike London said in the release. "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."
Lazor left U.Va. after filling the Cavaliers' offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach role for the last three seasons. He was also U.Va.'s wide receivers coach this past season.
In Fairchild's college coaching career, he has worked with several high profile players. As the quarterbacks coach from '90 through '92 at San Diego State, he worked with running back Marshall Faulk and quarterback Dan McGwire, a duo that helped lead the Aztecs to NCAA top-10 finishes in the nation for three straight seasons in scoring and total offense.
During his three-year stint as the St. Louis Rams offensive coordinator, Fairchild linked up with Faulk again. Fairchild also had Pro Bowl running backs Larry Centers and Travis Henry under his tutelage when he was the Bills' offensive coordinator.
"Steve Fairchild is a coach that has been at a number of places and has had a great deal of success," Oliver said in the release. "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."