UVa Wins 100th ACC Title ? And More
It was quite a weekend for the Virginia athletics program. Saturday the Cavalier rowing program won the 100th ACC Championship in UVa’s history. It took just over 24 hours for Virginia to start building toward No. 200. Sunday the Virginia men’s tennis team picked up title No. 101 and later in the afternoon the men’s lacrosse team downed Maryland 10-6 to collect ACC title No. 102.
The Cavalier athletics program has claimed seven ACC titles this year, the most in school history. In addition to the three crowns this weekend, earlier in the year the men’s soccer, men’s swimming & diving, wrestling and women’s swimming & diving teams all brought home first-place trophies from their respective championships.
From the time Virginia first joined the ACC in 1953, 19 of the school’s 25 sports have claimed at least one ACC title, while 12 of those own three or more. The men’s lacrosse team alone has a record 17 conference championships to its name, while various Cavalier squads over the years have put together streaks of two or more ACC titles 23 separate times.
From the pool to the field, from the track to the court, Virginia has held at least one ACC title in each of the last 30 years. Prior to this year’s record grab of seven ACC titles (so far), the Cavaliers had managed to win six championships in a single year three times. The first came in 2003-04 and then again in 2007-08 and 2008-09.
As appealing as it is to get caught up in the statistical side of Virginia’s storied conference history-impressive though it might be-doing so would be ignoring the individuals behind those 100 ACC championships. From All-Americans to Olympians to Hall of Fame coaches, hundreds of Cavaliers have played a role in achieving the century mark; following such a numerical milestone, however, it seemed only fitting to look back at the greatest teams and programs in Virginia’s conference history by taking a “by the numbers” approach.
• A total of three ranked teams were upset by the Virginia men’s basketball team en route to the 1976 ACC Tournament title. Riding the coattails of forward Wally Walker– or “Wonderful Wally Walker” as he was fondly called by Cavalier fans– Virginia knocked off No. 17 N.C. State and No. 9 Maryland to earn a date with Dean Smith and No. 4 North Carolina in the championship game.
Against the defending tournament champions, second-year coach Terry Holland’s squad eked out a 67-62 victory over the Tar Heels while Walker’s 21 points and seven rebounds earned him the program’s first, and only, tournament MVP honor. The “Miracle in Landover” not only secured the Cavaliers’ first NCAA tournament berth, but more importantly, the 1976 championship marks the only ACC men’s basketball tournament title in school history.
• Bruce Arena was the head coach of the Virginia men’s soccer team for nine of its 15 championships. Commanding the program from 1978 to 1995 before going on to coach at the professional level and eventually the U.S. National Team, Arena led the Cavaliers to five straight conference titles from 1991 to 1995. He can be credited for not only mentoring such stars as two-time collegiate Player of the Year Claudio Reyna-who was three for three in conference finals during his career at Virginia-but also for building the program into the conference, and national powerhouse it remains today. With the second most ACC championship trophies to their name at Virginia, the Cavaliers have appeared in 16 of the past 20 conference title games, with their most recent championship coming in the fall of 2009 under George Gelnovatch, whose team went on to win the NCAA title.
• The 106-103 score of the triple-overtime victory posted by the Virginia women’s basketball team to outlast Maryland in the 1993 ACC championship game. Avoiding a potential letdown in the first season of the post-Dawn Staley era, the Cavaliers underwent an endurance test to claim their third conference title in four years under coach Debbie Ryan. After an overtime victory against Clemson in the semifinals, Virginia returned less than 24 hours later to play 55 hard-fought minutes against the Terrapins. The 1993 championship not only marked the third of six straight years in which the Cavaliers earned the ACC Tournament’s No. 1 seed, but it also gave Ryan’s corps both the conference’s regular season and tournament titles for the second consecutive season.
• Zero losses were recorded by the 2006 Virginia men’s lacrosse team en route to both an ACC and NCAA championship. With seven All-Tournament team members, including Tewaaraton Trophy recipient Matt Ward, the Cavaliers outscored their ACC opponents by an average of eight goals on the year, concluding their conference season with an 11-5 triumph over Maryland in the ACC title game. While Virginia claimed 11 regular season conference championships before the establishment of a year-end tournament in 1989, Hall of Fame coach Dom Starsia has since guided the program to six of its school-record 17 ACC crowns en route to compiling over 200 victories at Virginia.
• Seven times both the men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams have hoisted an ACC championship trophy in the same season. While the men’s squad alone has won 13 conference titles, the Cavaliers’ 21 combined championships would suggest that the school’s most successful athletic program resides in the pool. Over 200 individual conference champions have been crowned at Virginia, a group highlighted by distance specialist Cara Lane-a two-time national champion-and Olympic breastroker and world record holder Ed Moses. Although 20 ACC Championship MVPs have come and gone over the years, one factor has remained the same. In his 32 seasons at the helm, head coach Mark Bernardino has guided the Cavaliers to all 21 of their conference titles, including the squad’s most recent double-three-peat, making him one of the winningest coaches in Virginia history.
• The .909 winning percentage compiled by the Virginia rowing team at the ACC Championships. Not only have the Cavaliers won 10 of the last 11 conference titles, but they also won the first nine championships ever held in the sport’s short ACC history. Virginia’s heralded Varsity 8 has been named the ACC’s Crew of the Year six times, while head coach Kevin Sauer-commanding the Cavaliers since the intercollegiate program was first established in 1995-has earned ACC Coach of the Year honors six times. While the swimming and diving program might boast more championships, the Cavalier rowers could make a strong case for their program being equally dominant at Virginia.
• The 20-1 ACC Tournament record accumulated by the Cavalier men’s tennis team since 2004. Winners of six of the last seven conference titles, Virginia has gone undefeated in the conference over the last four seasons and has dropped only six points in tournament play during that span. Led by two-time national champion Somdev Devvarman, who compiled 35 ACC singles’ wins at Virginia, the program has produced 27 All-ACC selections since 2004. Head coach Brian Boland has been calling the shots for all six of the Cavaliers’ championships and has been tabbed ACC Coach of the Year four times during his nine-year tenure.
• The 28 eventual NFL players on the roster of Virginia’s 1995 football team which claimed the second conference co-championship in school history. That year, Cavalier fans saw future pro star Tiki Barber rush for over 100 yards eight times during the season as coach George Welsh’s squad dropped only one conference game-a close 22-17 loss at North Carolina. Boasting five All-Americans that fall, Virginia would one-up the Shawn Moore-captained 1989 co-championship team by winning its year-end bowl game, topping Georgia in the Peach Bowl to go 9-4 on the year and finish ranked in the top-25 for the second straight season. During Welsh’s 19 years at Virginia, the Cavaliers would finish first or second in the ACC seven times.
• Nine of the 14 women’s lacrosse championship games held in conference history have included the Cavaliers. Under head coach Julie Myers, Virginia has won three of the last five ACC Championships and is 17-9 overall in the conference tournament. As many as six Cavaliers in a single season have been named to the All-Tournament team, including 2004 National Player of the Year Amy Appelt. Appelt scored five of her ACC record 90 goals that year in the conference title game as the Cavaliers topped Duke 17-7 to claim their second crown in school history. While the same squad would go on to win the NCAA championship, 2004 would also serve as the springboard for Virginia’s later three-peat in the conference tournament.
• The two runs allowed in two ACC Tournament starts by pitcher Seth Greisinger to carry the 1996 Virginia baseball team to its second conference title in school history. Virginia’s all-time leader in career strikeouts, Greisinger earned two of his school record 12 wins on the season against ranked opponents N.C. State and Florida State as the Cavaliers dropped only one game in the tournament to end a 24-year championship drought. While the eventual Olympic bronze medalist led the Cavaliers on the mound in 1996, Virginia would see its next tournament MVP do so with his bat, as Dan Grovatt went 8-for-18 during UVa’s impressive 2009 championship run after entering the tournament as the No. 6 seed.
— story by Cayce Troxel
ACC Team Championships
Baseball (3) – 1972, 1996, 2009
Men’s Basketball (1) –1976
Women’s Basketball (3) – 1990, 1992, 1993
Men’s Cross Country (4) – 1984, 2005, 2007, 2008
Women’s Cross Country (2) – 1981, 1982
Football (2) – 1989, 1995
Men’s Lacrosse (17) – 1962, 1964, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1975, 1980, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1997, 1999, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2010
Women’s Lacrosse (5) – 1998, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008
Women’s Rowing (10) – 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010
Men’s Soccer (15) – 1969, 1970, 1983, 1984, 1986, 1988, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1997, 2003, 2004, 2009
Women’s Soccer (1) – 2004
Softball (1) – 1994
Men’s Swimming and Diving (13) – 1987, 1990, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010
Women’s Swimming and Diving (8) – 1990, 1998, 1999, 2003, 2004, 2008, 2009, 2010
Men’s Tennis (6) – 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010
Women’s Indoor Track and Field (1) – 1987
Women’s Outdoor Track and Field (5) – 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987
Men’s Outdoor Track and Field (1) – 2009
Wrestling (4) – 1974, 1975, 1977, 2010