Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich
Perhaps in a response to a recent column written by Doug Doughty of the Roanoke Times, Virginia athletic director Craig Littlepage issued a statement about the recent struggles of Virginia athletics.
The statement is on the school's Web site, and it has also made its way around a few message boards:
February 4, 2009
The University of Virginia has some of the most loyal and generous fans of any school in the country and we are extremely appreciative of that support. Significant investments have been made in our program and, as with any investment, results are expected. As the Athletics Director, I expect results as well.
Many of our fans have voiced their frustration and I am frustrated as well. I am committed to making sure we are the very best we can be in each of our 25 programs. Many of our programs have performed extremely well over the past several years, while others need our attention and support. Improvements in football and men's basketball are a priority. All of our programs will continue to receive the support they need. The programs that need to improve will be given the proper focus and attention.
I expect us to win our in-state battles, and to compete for ACC and national championships. This was part of our plan several years ago when we stated publicly that we wanted to be a top ten program consistently in the Directors Cup standings. We remain committed to building a program that will finish in the top ten on a consistent basis.
I am committed to do everything needed to get all of our programs on track. The intended results are for our student-athletes and teams to have high levels of achievement, academically and athletically, while contributing to the quality of the University community.
Director of Athletics
First, football fans still calling for coach Al Groh to be fired shouldn't read too much into this. After the staff changes Groh made in the offseason, odds are his job is pretty safe right now. The hot seat is more like lukewarm, especially considering the Cavaliers turned around what began as a miserable 2008 season and by the 11th game of the season were actually in the mix to win the Coastal Division. That doesn't necessarily mean, though, that another 5-7 season and no bowl appearance will fly in 2009.
If anyone is on the hot seat at Virginia right now, it's hoops coach Dave Leitao, who currently has a miserable 1-6 record in the ACC.
This letter is less a threat to the coaches, though, and more of a reassurance to Virginia fans that their athletic director is aware of the state of affairs in Charlottesville, and wants to see football and basketball succeed as much as they do.