Leitao: ‘No Excuse Program’

He’s going to need more than just the attitude to raise Virginia’s struggling program out of the bottom tier of the ACC…but, it is nice to see this.

“If our mentality is, ‘Hey, we only lost by a few tonight and that’s a good thing,’ that’s not where I’m trying to go with this program. No matter who shows up, or how many show up, or what the odds are for or against us, what I want in everybody’s mind is that when the ball is tossed up, we’re trying to win. If we don’t, then we’ll try to correct it so we have a chance to win the next one,” Leitao said.

I don’t know much about Leitao, but I am going to be interested in watching what he is going to do at Virginia; his comments read quite similar to the historical demeanor and perspectives of the likes of Tom Izzo and Rick Barnes.

If there’s one thing we’ve learned about Dave Leitao since he came on board as Virginia’s basketball coach last spring is that he’s a no nonsense, no excuse kind of guy.

For a little more on Leitao, you can check out the ACC Area Sports Journal’s archives for some info.

Since taking the Virginia job, Leitao frequently has asked friends to give him a reason why the Cavaliers can’t be successful. He has a ready-made answer when he is reminded of the Duke-North Carolina axis at the top of the ACC standings.

“You can finish first or you can finish fifth in the ACC and still have a chance to win the national championship,” Leitao said. “Maryland has proven that. Georgia Tech has proven that. There’s plenty of room at the top.”

My crystal ball isn’t as clear as it once was…but, I’m going throw out a scenario for you:

I am projecting that Skip Prosser bolts Wake Forest for the University of Cincinnati this year. As much as I think that Ron Wellman is easily one of the ten best Athletics Directors in the country, I think that this hire may be more difficult for the Deacons. With that said, perhaps Leitao has a great opportunity to elevate Virginia in the ACC in light of Georgia Tech’s recent inconsistency and my projections for Wake’s potential hiccup.

I’m just talking for fun. That’s what fans do.

General Quotes of Note

11 Responses to Leitao: ‘No Excuse Program’

  1. BJD95 01/06/2006 at 12:59 PM #

    I like that this guy realizes that Duke and UNC are absolutely not more of an impediment to winning a national title than they are to any other NCAA team. Yes, you may have to play them 3 or 4 times a season – but if they’re good, losing to them generally HELPS your RPI, thus not harming your at large selection chances or seeding much, if at all. Plus, I think the ACC crucible helps prepare you for post-season play (unless you are Duke and go soft b/c ACC officiating crews provide too much extra help).

    Like he said, plenty of room at the top.

  2. Class of '74 01/06/2006 at 1:13 PM #

    Absolutely the ACC better prepares you for a chance to win it all in March/April, but I don’t see UVa as a perennial power in this conference and occasional power maybe but that’s all. If Gibson, Holland, Jones and Gillen couldn’t do it I fail to see how Leitao will reverse their fortunes.

  3. Trout 01/06/2006 at 2:21 PM #

    I guess I’m confused about how Leitao’s comments re: Duke and UNC differ from Fowler’s comments re: Duke and UNC.

  4. Sammy Kent 01/06/2006 at 4:02 PM #

    I agree, Trout, except for the caveat at the end: There’s plenty of room AT THE TOP. Whereas Fowler said we don’t HAVE to be competitive with Dook and Carolina, Leitao seems to be saying he at least PLANS to be. Perhaps it’s just semantics, or maybe Leitao’s really saying that he doesn’t have to have a PROGRAM that’s always competitive for the top spot to have a TEAM every few years that’s capable of catching lightning in a bottle. It still sounds better the way Leitao put it for some reason, even though it’s virtually the same sentiment as Fowler’s.

  5. VaWolf82 01/06/2006 at 6:55 PM #

    IIRC, Fowler said something to the effect that State has been competitiive with UNC and Duke over the last four years. If you set your definitions low enough, then you can make this claim with a straight face. However, to me it is every bit as absurd as the BS about beating the last seven national champions.

    When he says something about competing (or not competing) with Duke/UNC in the future, it doesn’t really bother me. His remarks will have no more effect on the game than anything I say. At most, it tells us what we already know….his standards for caoching success is extremely low.

    You don’t even have to enter into the Great Herb Debate to prove that this ture…..men’s soccer and women’s volleyball demonstrate that it is extremely difficult to lose enough games that Lee Fowler will dismiss you.

  6. PACDADDY 01/06/2006 at 11:19 PM #

    VA…not to pick on you…but we have been competitve with UNC over last 4 of 5(counting this season) seasons…haven’t we? Duke…well…we won’t go there 🙂

    Of course…I’m waiting for the patented…DOH years don’t count “excuse”.

    It’s not Fowler’s fault UNC hired the wrong guy…haven’t we been competitve with UNC?

  7. Jeff 01/07/2006 at 11:12 AM #

    ^ Since you have never actually defined what you think “being competitive” means, then I don’t have a clue what you are saying.

    But…it doesn’t keep me from laughing at your hypocrisy — you talk about fans not counting the Doh years…yet you also choose to self-select stuff which years you want to choose to judge:

    “but we have been competitve with UNC over last 4 of 5(counting this season) seasons…haven’t we?”

    Extracting entire years from reality seems to be something that NC State fans are wonderful at doing (like the 5 years of seasons tickets that I bought for the first 5 years of Herb Sendek’s tenure that nobody chose to tell me weren’t important enough to count).

    So…if you don’t want to count last year’s NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP and entire season of being ranked in the top five fpr Carolina…then most definitely NC State’s basketball program has generally “been competitive” with Carolina’s program in “4 of the last 5 years”. Little doubt about it.

    Unfortunately for us…in those seasons…Carolina generally has been about the 5th or 6th best program in the ACC behind Duke, Maryland, Wake, State, and even GT.

    So, bragging about “being competitive” with Carolina in those seasons is identical to saying tha we have “been competitive” with the 5th or 6th best program in the conference in those years. YIPPEEE!!!

    That’s about right. And obviously something that you think is something to brag about. I choose to disagree with the concept that “being competitive” with the #6 progam in the ACC.

  8. VaWolf82 01/07/2006 at 11:26 AM #

    VA…not to pick on you…but we have been competitve with UNC over last 4 of 5(counting this season) seasons…haven’t we? Duke…well…we won’t go there

    My point was not the accuracy of the statement. If you set your definition of competitive low enough, then two mid-season victories against Duke over a four-year stretch could be considered as competitive. My definition doesn’t go that low, but evidently Lee Fowler’s does.

    Likewise, 4-4 against UNC certainly looks competitive. However, it is extremely misleading. The victories during the Doh years certainly count from a historical perspective, but are worthless when looking forward and considering head-to-head coaching records. Let’s put it this way, using the Doh years and claiming that State is competitive with UNC is essentially the same as using the ACC record over Herb’s entire tenure and concluding that he can’t compete in the ACC.

    From a personal perspective, the two losses last year don’t bother me as much as the two losses during the 2004 season. State had a much better team, but Herb still couldn’t beat Roy. Every other coach in the conference found a way to beat Roy and UNC, but Herb and NC State couldn’t. I don’t know how anyone can claim that State has been competitive with UNC since Roy has been hired.

    I stand by my statement that Lee Fowler’s statement about being competitive against UNC/Duke is every bit as stupid as the BS about beating the last seven national champions.

  9. VaWolf82 01/07/2006 at 7:24 PM #

    If you want to use Herb’s entire ACC record and conclude he can’t compete in the ACC go ahead…waste your time.

    I know you have read my posts here because you’ve commented on everyone of them. I have never used Herb’s entire record at State for the basis of my conclusions….just like I don’t use the games won against Doh when making comparisons with Roy. Of course you like to lump both UNC coaches together.


    Because some people make no excuses for losing and some people spend all of their time thinking them up.

  10. Class of '74 01/09/2006 at 10:03 AM #

    Herb is not competitive with Roy or K and he hasn’t been competitive with former NCSU coaches not named Les either. If your idea of competitive is 4th place in the conference then occasionally he is compettive.


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