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Virginia coaches and athletic rivals share thoughts on Craig Littlepage retirement.

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Littlepage retiring after 16 years at the helm of Virginia athletics.

NCAA Basketball Tournament - UNC Wilmington v Virginia Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

News broke on Tuesday that Craig Littlepage, the long-time Athletic Director for the University of Virginia, would be stepping down after 16 years of service. Littlepage, who took over the role in August of 2001, oversaw Virginia Athletics through its most successful era.

Since 2002, the Hoos have won 13 NCAA national team titles, 15 NCAA individual titles, and 76 ACC championships under the purview of Littlepage.

His success has deservedly garnered the respect of members of the college athletics world. In addition, he’s earned the admiration and gratitude of Virginia’s coaches:

Tony Bennett

Men’s Basketball Head Coach

“Craig has led our athletic department with passion and integrity. His vision and leadership established UVA as one of the top programs in Division I athletics. Craig's also one of the most well-liked and respected ADs in all of college sports. It's been a joy to work for Craig and he should head into his retirement with a big smile on his face knowing he did things the right way while making a significant impact on the success of Virginia athletics. I’m thankful for his support and mentorship, and wish he and his wife, Margaret, all the best.”

Steve Garland

Head Wrestling Coach

“I will forever be indebted to Craig Littlepage. In 2006 Craig took a chance on me and hired me to lead this program and made a dream come true for me. I was only 29 years old then and now at 40 I can look back and see how much I have grown as a coach and as a person under his leadership. Craig has always been there for me. I love the man and I mean that with all my heart. When I look back at the past 11 years here the success of this athletic department is just incredible. I’m truly sad to see him leave, but I am also happy for him and his family. I have prayed and will continue to pray for him moving forward.”

George Gelnovatch

Head Men’s Soccer Coach

“Much of the success that I’ve had on and off the field I can attribute to the leadership of Craig Littlepage. I think I can speak on behalf of many of the coaches in the department when I say that he’s been pivotal in the abundance of accomplishments by individual programs and the department as a whole. I wish him luck in his retirement, he will be missed.”

Kim Lewellen

Head Women’s Golf Coach

“I have had the privilege to work under Craig Littlepage my entire time here in Virginia. His support for the student-athletes, the coaches and all of the university community were shown daily. He recorded the highest athletic achievements with uncompromised excellence. He left a wonderful legacy here at Virginia.”

Kevin Sauer

Head Rowing Coach

“Craig has been a stalwart for this department for over 27 years, including 16 as director. His character, integrity and vision have driven us to be one of the premier athletic departments in the country. Craig’s decision in 2001 to fully fund all sports was a very important one that allowed our department to succeed. Personally, he has been a steady and supportive force that I appreciate immensely.”

Brian O’Connor

Head Baseball Coach

“I want to thank Craig Littlepage for bringing my family and me to Charlottesville 14 years ago. I will be forever grateful for the opportunities he provided our players and coaching staff. Craig had a very clear vision for Virginia Baseball and always provided the highest level of support to win championships.

“Craig Littlepage is a man of the highest integrity and will be missed. I wish him the best in his future endeavors.”

Virginia’s coaches weren’t the only ones affected by Littlepage over the course of his career. Here’s what some of his peers are saying about his retirement:

Val Ackerman

Commissioner of the Big East Conference and UVA (1981) women’s basketball player

“Virginia athletics are synonymous with excellence and integrity, and much of the credit for that belongs to Craig Littlepage, a class act in every way. Legions of Wahoo student-athletes have Craig to thank for bringing them a one-of-a-kind life experience, and UVA supporters around the country can take enormous pride in being associated with one of most accomplished and best-run operations in college sports. Craig's long-standing contributions to basketball have also been a tremendous service to the game. He'll be greatly missed.”

Kevin Anderson

Athletic Director, Maryland

“Craig is one of the best athletic directors of all time. Intercollegiate athletics will not be the same without him. I love Craig Littlepage. Best wishes Craig. I will miss you.”

John Swofford

Atlantic Coast Conference Commissioner

“Craig Littlepage has been the steady hand at the helm of the University of Virginia athletic department for the last 16 years. His leadership and positive influence are well known, beginning with his days as a student-athlete and continuing throughout his coaching career and his 25 plus years in athletics administration. Craig is one of the most highly respected individuals within the ACC, among his peers, and across the overall landscape of collegiate athletics. Even more impressive is how remarkable he is as a person, which is why I’ve always described him as one of the true gentlemen in our profession. Nora and I wish Craig and Margaret nothing but the best as they look ahead to this next chapter.”

Stan Wilcox

Vice President & Director of Athletics, Florida State

“From student-athlete to coach to administrator, Craig has worn every hat possible in intercollegiate athletics, and worn them all exceedingly well. Craig paved the way for individuals like myself to have senior leadership opportunities, and I am proud to have worked alongside him and to call him a friend. I wish Craig, Margaret and the Littlepage family all the best in his retirement.”

Dan Radakovich

Director of Athletics, Clemson University

“What a tremendous honor to have shared the ACC Athletics Directors’ room for the last 11 years with Craig Littlepage. He is a great friend and colleague who helped guide our conference to the strong position it enjoys today. His effect on the University of Virginia athletics program and the entire Atlantic Coast Conference is immeasurable. I wish Craig and Margaret the best in retirement…know that you will be missed!”

Kevin White

Vice President and Director of Athletics, Duke

“Craig Littlepage is unequivocally a pinnacle leader within the entire intercollegiate athletics community. Craig consistently exhibits unqualified class, grace and dignity, while diligently leading our entire cohort of colleagues around the non-negotiable standard of integrity. To say the very least, Craig and Margaret have had an indelible impact on the entire higher education enterprise, well beyond the University of Virginia.”

Virginia has stated the search for Littlepage’s replacement will begin soon.