This afternoon the Virginia Cavaliers’ Athletic Department announced the firing of the women’s basketball Head Coach Tina Thompson. Over four seasons — including a five-game, winless 2020 campaign — Thompson led the ‘Hoos to a disappointing 30-63 overall record and a 15-38 standing in ACC play.
Virginia lost to Wake Forest in the first round of the ACC Tournament, 61-53 which put a cap on UVA’s season and likely sealed Thompson’s fate.
After the 2020-2021 season was canceled after those five contests for health and safety concerns, Thompson had her worst year yet in her fourth season. In fact, it wasn’t until February 17th that Virginia got its first ACC win as the ‘Hoos finished an embarrassing 2-15 in conference play this season.
In a statement from Athletic Director Carla Williams accompanying the release she emphasized how “we have not experienced the kind of success this program has come to expect and deserve,” and how that fact has led the Athletic Department to begin its immediate search for a new head coach.
Thompson had originally been hired back on April 16th, 2018. She still has a year remaining on her contract, but it figures that after the disaster that has been the last two season Virginia would want to look elsewhere for its program’s future.
As for who will take control of the program, it’s just speculation but one name that would have to be mentioned would be former Wahoo Tammi Reiss. Currently the head coach at Rhode Island, Reiss was a three-time All-American during her playing career from 1989 to 1992.
In that stretch, Virginia made three straight final fours including an NCAA Championship game appearance in 1991. Reiss joined the Virginia coaching staff under her former head coach Debbie Ryan for four seasons after graduation.
Again, it’s just speculation, but considering how Dawn Staley is locked up at South Carolina for the foreseeable future, Reiss could and probably should be one of Virginia’s primary targets.
Of course, Tonya Cardoza is another name from that era under Debbie Ryan who could be a part of Virginia’s long list. Having played in UHall from 1987-1991, Cardoza also had plenty of success in the orange and blue and has more experience than Reiss in the coaching industry.
Working as an assistant for Geno Auriemma from 1994-2008 at UConn, the Massachusetts native has spent the last fourteen years as the head coach of the Temple Owls after Staley left that position for South Carolina. As a head coach, Cardoza boasts a 230-163 overall record. In fact, she was the 2011 Atlantic 10 Coach of the Year and was the Big 5 coach of the year from 2009 to 2011.
Jenny Boucek is another name to keep an eye out for as the current Indiana Pacers assistant coach played in Charlottesville from 1992 to 1996.