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April 1, 2004

CHARLOTTESVILLE – Following a thorough review of the University of Virginia’s men’s basketball program, Athletics Director Craig K. Littlepage said today that he had concluded that Pete Gillen is the right person to lead the program and that Gillen has his full support, as well as the support of University President John T. Casteen III.

“Coach Gillen and I have spent a lot of time during the past few weeks discussing where the program is and where we want it to be,” Littlepage said. “Pete has shown a great love for and dedication to the University. He has worked extremely hard to move our program forward.

“On the basis of our review, I feel confident that we have a coach prepared to meet the University’s expectations for championship-level results.”

Littlepage said that, while U.Va. was not among the 65 teams invited to participate in the NCAA Tournament this year, “there was a strong feeling the team was building momentum as the regular season wound down. It was during this time that Pete and I focused our discussions on the team’s progress and the program’s future. There was tremendous enthusiasm at University Hall in late-season wins against ranked ACC opponents.”

Casteen also said he was pleased with the review process and thanked both Littlepage and Gillen for their work. “I feel confident that under Craig’s guidance and with Pete’s commitment, the U.Va. men’s basketball program will reach its full potential.”

Gillen, who last month completed his sixth season at the helm of the Cavalier program and his 19th as a collegiate head coach, said he was happy with the outcome of the recent review.

“Craig and I agree on the direction the program is headed and we’re looking forward to building on the successes we achieved at the end of this season,” said Gillen. “Our goal is to make this a championship-caliber program, and I believe all the pieces are in place to do that. We have terrific student athletes who will represent the University well. We’re excited about their contributions, and the contributions our three new recruits will make. I can’t wait until the start of next season.”

Gillen was named U.Va.’s head coach on March 28, 1998, after four seasons as head coach at Providence College. He also served as head coach at Xavier University. Prior to that, he’d been an assistant coach at Notre Dame, Villanova, VMI, and Hawaii.

Coming to U.Va., Gillen said at the time, was “one of those once-in-a-lifetime opportunities. I’m not going to coach forever, and I’m looking at Virginia as my last stop. …Opportunities like the one at Virginia aren’t there every day.”

Under Gillen’s direction, Virginia has compiled an overall record of 104-78, reaching postseason play in each of the past five years, including one appearance in the NCAA Tournament (2001) and four in the National Invitation Tournament. In his 19-year career, Gillen’s teams have compiled an overall record of 378-206, and have made 16 postseason appearances.

This season, the Cavaliers went 18-13, advancing to the second round of the NIT.

Littlepage sees today’s announcement as a new opportunity for U.Va.’s men’s basketball program. “We have completed a successful review, and Pete and I agree on what needs to be done,” Littlepage said. “Building on the year-end successes, we now begin the hard work of establishing the course of action that will reflect the University’s commitment to excellence.”

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