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April 3, 2004

Gee, people really do care about basketball around here. Everywhere I’ve been lately…the gym, grocery store, book store, you name it…people have been chattin’ up the Pete Gillen story. I’ve answered every question with almost the same answer. I have told every person who has asked – P And thanks to web sites, newspaperete is going to be fine. Speculation does not need an explanation. , e-mail requests, radio station morning shows, you name it…everyone has had an opinion about Pete Gillen’s welfare. One thing I have learned is that there are a lot of misinformed people. They scratch the surface of a story and stay there with no regard to fact, inside knowledge, or solution. They really don’t understand the workings of an athletic department and refer to sources who are as misinformed as the next guy. I was told this…I heard this…I think UVA is going to do this…

Electronic and print fodder at its best.

It seemed to me everyone kept waiting on Craig Littlepage, our athletic director, to hold a massive, presidential-like, press conference to make some grand announcement about University of Virginia basketball. In the business world there are a lot of closed-door sessions outlining strategies. CEO’s draw up game plans, marketing guidelines, mission statements, and lay out the groundwork to build a winner. Every time there is a conversation, they don’t hurry to a microphone filled podium and announce to the world their intentions. To win, at anything, is to protect information. Act in good faith, devise a game plan, and follow it. But don’t tell everybody you plan on faking a punt the first time you get the ball inside the 40.Littlepage told one writer that he would not address certain issues. Too many things are between Gillen and Page. They are the gentlemen in charge of building a winner. Improve the schedule, make sure the players are going to class, graduating and doing all the right things off the floor are the building blocks to success. Steps are being taken in that direction. And really, when it comes right down to it, success at the college level is based on recruiting. No school wins without talent. To secure that talent you have to show a commitment to the program-upgrade facilities, sell tickets, and create a culture.

It’s my feeling that Virginia basketball is beginning to turn the corner again. The freshman class this past season was stellar. The Cavaliers won five of the last eight, won an ACCTournament game, advanced to the post season for the fifth straight year, and began a buzz in University Hall. Looking ahead, John Paul Jones Arena will be one of the finest basketball houses in the country. Plans are currently being formulated for creative packaging of tickets. Pete Gillen and Craig Littlepage understand their role in all of this and will continue to work together to construct a program the Wahoo family can be proud of.

Things are in place. Now it’s our turn. Who did you recruit today?

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