Here at Streaking the Lawn, we wish everyone a happy Thanksgiving weekend! In the spirit of gratitude, here are ten things to be thankful for as a Virginia Cavaliers fan:
33 National Championships
As UVA fans, we are fortunate to support an athletics department that thrives all around. Virginia’s 33 NCAA team titles rank second in the ACC, and 16th overall.
Over the last five years, the ‘Hoos have built (or rebuilt) dynasties in men’s tennis, women’s swim and dive, and men’s lacrosse. Several other programs remained nationally ranked on a consistent basis.
A men’s basketball coach that encapsulates the UVA mission
From both an on-the-court and off-the-court perspective, there is no men’s basketball coach I would rather have leading the University of Virginia than Tony Bennett. While building an excellent culture throughout his program with his five pillars, Bennett has awoke the sleeping giant and made the ACC run through Charlottesville for the past decade.
In his tenure, Virginia fans have experienced a national championship, six regular season conference titles, and appearances in all but one NCAA Tournament since 2014. It is quite fitting that I exercise the “thankfulness” pillar when reflecting on the success of this program.
An outstanding leader of men on the football side
The UVA fanbase has mixed feelings on Tony Elliott as a football coach. Most remain frustrated by his lack of production in the wins column, while some believe he is close to turning a corner.
Regardless, Elliott was the perfect man to lead the UVA program amidst a tragedy. His empathy, strength, and courage has emulated on the entire personnel, and the players have responded in a way that has been admired throughout college football.
A women’s basketball program on the rise
As Bennett has cemented the men’s program into the national landscape, the women’s program has fallen behind. However, once Carla Williams hired Coach Amaka ‘Mox’ Agugua-Hamilton, things were destined to change.
In Mox’s first season, the Cavaliers won 15 games, compared to five the previous two seasons combined. They earned a top 25 ranking in the Coaches Poll for the first time since 2010. Her 13th ranked recent recruiting class, stacked with local talent, will provide the foundation for the continued rise of the program.
A clear investment in softball
Softball, particularly at the college level, is one of the fastest rising sports in America. UVA athletics administrators have responded by investing massive amounts of funds into improving Virginia’s softball facilities.
Palmer Park opened in 2020 and features an indoor player development center, team lounge, training room, and press box all in one location. The on-field results have already been evident as well. Joanna Hardin’s squad has won more games in each of the last two seasons than any team in the previous ten. Like women’s basketball, the recruits have taken notice and the class rankings are bolstering.
Back-to-back legendary men’s lacrosse coaches
How often is it that any program happens to hit on a coaching hire to the extent that they do nothing but win? Virginia did that with back-to-back coaches in men’s lacrosse, following up Dom Starsia’s 24-year tenure by bringing in Lars Tiffany.
Combined, the two have brought home six national championships, reached sixteen final fours, and won the conference regular season title fourteen times. At this point in the Tiffany era, you can consider UVA the premier men’s lacrosse program in the country.
The second most Major League Baseball players among NCAA programs
With 14 alumni finishing on MLB rosters, Brian O’Connor’s program has produced more pros than all programs not named Vanderbilt. This includes one of the longest tenured Dodgers in Chris Taylor, the man who recorded the final seven outs of the World Series in Josh Sborz, and two rookies primed to be stars in Zack Gelof and Andrew Abbott.
The quarterback of the present and the future
Circling back to football, the sky is the limit for Anthony Colandrea. As a true freshman, he has shown the ability to make any throw on the field with consistent accuracy and plus athleticism.
When facing Virginia Tech, a lot of previous Virginia teams have been unable to produce in the big moments. That’s not to guarantee Colandrea will come through, but his confidence has to fire up the program and fanbase.
Perris Jones’ health
After that freak incident during the Louisville football game, we are relieved that the Virginia running back has been released from the hospital and transferred to a rehabilitation center, where he will spend the next several weeks.
We continue to keep Perris and his family in our thoughts during this holiday weekend. The directions are attached here if you would like to send him a card.
The UVA fanbase
Last of all, we would like to give thanks to our entire community of ‘Hoos. Together, we have celebrated the highest of highs and supported each other through the lowest of lows.
Enjoy the rest of your Thanksgiving weekend. And as always, Go Hoos and Beat Tech!