Eds. note: This article was originally published on April 1, 2015 as part of our April Fool's coverage.
A giant statue of head coach Tony Bennett will be erected at The University of Virginia, the Athletics Department announced today, April 1st, 2015. The location will be the center of Scott Stadium, former home of the Virginia Cavaliers football team.
Construction of the statue, which is expected to span 300 feet high, about the size of the Statue of Liberty, will start immediately. The base will center at what is now Scott Stadium's 50-yard line, with the intention of maintaining the structure's visibility not just throughout Alderman Road dorms, but from the University's Lawn as well.
The Virginia football team will look to move its games back to Lambeth field, in an effort to recreate 1915's 8-1 season, the last one during which UVA had a winning record.
"After two consecutive regular-season ACC titles and 30-win seasons, we knew we wanted to honor Tony Bennett somehow," AD Craig Littlepage explained. "We offered him a raise, but he declined it once again. And naming a court after him just didn't seem sufficient, judging by the sentiments of our fans. Neither did erecting a normal-sized statue. It has to be giant."
Wahoo fans have expressed almost unanimous approval of the administration's plan. Third-year student Kathleen Jenkins credits Bennett with her newfound passion for the sport. She hadn't been to a game in the past and admitted she still hasn't watched a second of game action, "I just stare at the shot clock, watching it tick toward zero, and go nuts when a buzzer sounds." She estimates that about one-third of fans in JPJ share her style of fandom, while the remaining portion simply gawks at the head coach's good looks.
However, some more cynical fans have criticized the statue as a money-grab for the Athletics Department. Locating the statue in Scott Stadium, the University plans to open the building's gates on 7 fall Saturdays for fans to view Tony Bennett's statue up-close. Within minutes of announcing the repurposing of stadium, "football" season tickets had sold out.
Coach Mike London protested the move at first, but quickly relented. "Our team loved playing in Scott Stadium," he noted. "But Mr. Littlepage offered me free season tickets to see a representation of a great and successful head coach, and that's just not an opportunity I could pass up."
Tony Bennett took a measured approach to the announcement. "I think this is a little weird, just like I do when fans cheer louder for me during pre-game introductions than Justin freaking Anderson. But I'm just humbled and thankful and gracious and thankful."