No matter what happens in Monday night’s championship game, there’s no doubt that this men’s basketball season will go down as the most successful and one of the most memorable in Virginia history.
And UVA athletic director Carla Williams knows plenty about making history.
When she was hired in October 2017, she became the first African-American female athletic direcotr at a Power Five school.
“Virginia athletics has been pretty good for a long time and (former UVA AD) Craig Littlepage has done a super job. And I’m so thankful to Craig for hiring Tony Bennett and a lot of the coaches thatr we have,” Williams said. “We got great coaches and it takes great coaches to have a great program and we just tried to carry that forward.”
Virginia’s run to the national title game is a huge leap forward for not just the athletics program, but fo the brand of the University of Virginia.
“It’s huge. It’s a top three public institution. The only other two schools in that top three are in California so for the University of Virginia,” Williams said. “This is great exposure not just for the academic side but obviously for the athletic side. And not just men’s basketball but for our entire department.”
Throughout the tournament, Williams, a former college basketball player and assistant coach, has been one of the first to greet the Cavaliers after every game.
“This is so much fun. As a student athlete that got to play in the NCAA tournament and make it to the sweet 16 and as a coach being so fortunate to coach in the final four,” Williams said. “And then being able to see these guys, the coaches our staff, our players go this far in this journey is so rewarding. I’m so very happy for them.”
And it’s a feeling that reverberates throughout the athletic department.
“Our coaches are so supportive of each other. I’ve heard from so many staff members. Tony has. This is a family. It really is,” Williams said.
“Everyone shared in that adversity last year and every one is sharing in that adversity this year so that makes it a department wide experience.