Saturday, July 29, 2017
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- As a RICHMOND police detective, Mike London escaped death only by chance. He was working an undercover beat, wearing a beard, long hair and an earring when he jumped into a van full of young men suspected of pulling off a series of robberies.
A juvenile put a gun to his head and pulled the trigger. The gun jammed. That’s the only reason London is alive today.
In 2003, when London’s daughter, Ticynn, was 7, she was suffering from a rare genetic blood disorder called Fanconi anemia. Without a bone marrow transplant, she would almost certainly die, doctors said, adding there was one chance in 10,000 that Mike London’s bone marrow would match hers.
He beat the odds, donated bone marrow to her at The Johns Hopkins Hospital, and his daughter is now a senior at Old Dominion University.
London, a Hampton native and graduate of Bethel High School, has seven children and two grandchildren. He won a Football Championship Subdivision national title at Richmond in 2008. He’s mentored hundreds of football players who have become successful businessmen and fathers.
So don’t feel sorry for him that he didn’t quite cut it as head coach at the University of Virginia, where he was fired in 2015 after winning just 27 games in six seasons.
Wins and losses don’t mean nearly as much to London as life and death and family.