Pete Gillen is gone from Virginia. I am going to miss him.
One of my favorite Gillen quotes came after his first year. Gillen was asked what he thought of the tough road games in the ACC, and I think that reporter even led him with a reference to Cameron Indoor Stadium. Gillen responded with something very similar to the following: “No place is as difficult as Reynolds Coliseum. Those kids are right up there on the court. I had some kids tell me that they were going to kill me, kill my family, and then kill my hamster.”
Some interesting items are rising from Gillen’s exit that I just wanted to chronicle for future reference:
“Three high school seniors signed letters of intent in November to join the basketball program at University of Virginia in 2005-06. Pete Gillen’s decision to step down as U.Va.’s coach isn’t expected to send any of them elsewhere.
Mamadi Diane “committed to the University of Virginia,” his father, Mori Diane, said last night from the family’s home in Potomac, Md. “Obviously, he was looking forward to playing for coach Gillen and particularly [assistant] Walt Fuller, who’d been instrumental in bringing him there. But he made his commitment to the university, and if the university still wants him there, he’ll be glad to come.”
“Here’s the brutal truth: In the 52-year history of the ACC, only Clemson and Florida State have poorer records within the league than Virginia. The Cavs were 49-16 against ACC rivals during Sampson’s four years on the varsity and finished atop the standings three times. Pre-Sampson, they were a dismal 117-259. Post-Sampson, they’re 160-210.
They’ve resided in the second division 14 times over the past 22 years. For one fleeting moment, they were North Carolina, they were Duke – and their rooters have pined for that sort of status ever since. Better the Cavs should try to measure up against, say, Georgia Tech for openers. Better they first remember who they are and where they’ve been…
…Brutal league, the ACC. Consider N.C. State. Its past includes Everett Case, David Thompson, Jimmy V., two NCAA titles and 10 ACC championships – and the Pack has been killing itself for years trying to move into the neighborhood where UNCs and Dukes (and, at present, Wake Forests) dwell. If State, with its rich history, struggles to crack the upper echelon, where does that leave Virginia?