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Working with head football coaches George Welsh and Al Groh since 1986, for 23 years Jack Blackburn oversaw the admission of players who graduated at a 72 percent rate—nearly 20 percentage points higher than the national average of 53 percent—a role that required balancing the academic standards of the University with the requirements of a successful football program.

Ninety U.Va. players admitted under Blackburn's watch earned Atlantic Coast Conference All-Academic honors. Three—Tiki Barber, Stephen Phelan and Thomas Burns—won National Football Foundation Student-Athlete Awards, and Burns won the Draddy Award, considered the academic equivalent of the Heisman Trophy that is awarded annually to the top player in the country.

During that time, Cavalier teams won 62 percent of their games and appeared in 16 postseason bowls.

Blackburn also received the University's Thomas Jefferson Award, the highest honor accorded a member of the U.Va. community.

Jack Blackburn

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