As the final hours of 2017 are upon us, now is as good of a time as any to look back and remember the year that was for the Virginia Cavaliers. In chronological order, here are my top 10 moments for the athletic department this year, with our stories on them hyperlinked:
North Carolina hadn’t scored that few points in 38 years, and nine points in the second half for London Perrantes and a string of UVA offensive rebounds down the stretch earned them a huge win.
They needed heroic efforts from Perrantes and Marial Shayok, but the Cavs came back from 15 down in the first half to win an NCAA tournament game for the fourth year in a row for the first time since 1981-84.
With head coach Brian Boland leaving for the US Tennis Association, the UVA men’s tennis team sent him out in style, winning their third straight national championship and fourth in five years.
After the tragic events of Aug. 12, the Charlottesville community and high-profile figures from within the UVA athletic department came together to denounce the horror and evil that unfolded on the Downtown Mall.
Love this team and its message. https://t.co/ZVyhgo75kp— Bronco Mendenhall (@UVACoachBronco) August 14, 2017
They were two-touchdown underdogs and had only beaten the likes of William & Mary and UConn, but the Hoos improved to 3-1 with a 19-point win that wasn’t really as close as the scoreboard indicated.
Jordan Ellis averaged five yards a carry, and the Cavaliers were 5-1 for the first time in a decade after beating North Carolina for the first time since 2009.
Virginia knocked it out of the park when the school hired Georgia deputy AD Carla Williams as its new athletic director. In doing so, they brought aboard an adept fundraiser with basketball experience from a football school to lead the department after 16 years with Craig Littlepage at the helm.
In a rain-soaked thriller that at times resembled a fever dream, UVA earned its first bowl appearance in six long years.
Fourth-year linebacker Micah Kiser won the Campbell Trophy, popularly known as the “academic Heisman”. He graduated with a bachelor’s in foreign affairs last May, and is on track to earn a master’s in higher education.
Pavin Smith signed a $5 million contract with the Diamondbacks after he was drafted last summer, and used some of that money in one of the most heartwarming ways possible - paying down the rest of his parents’ mortgage.
Here’s to even more memories and even more national championships in 2018!