NCAA BK

Leitao out as Virginia coach after subpar season

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Jeff Goodman

Jeff Goodman is a senior college basketball writer for FOXSports.com. Check out his Yardbarker blog. MORE>>
 
   
 
Dave Leitao resigned Monday as Virginia's men's basketball coach, the school announced in a press release. The move is effective immediately. While Leitao's departure is officially termed a "resignation," the coach was forced to resign, according to sources close to the situation. Leitao will be paid about $2.1 million, according to Virginia AD Craig Littlepage. Leitao was hired four years ago by the Cavaliers and compiled a 63-60 record. Virginia, two years removed from a first-place regular-season finish in the ACC, was 10-18 overall and 4-12 in the ACC this season. "Dave has been a respected colleague and a fine University representative in the local community during his tenure here. He brought a great deal of leadership, discipline and integrity to his coaching responsibilities," Littlepage said in a statement. "I appreciate his hard work and dedication to athletics at the University of Virginia." Leitao won ACC Coach of the Year for the 2006-07 season after Virginia was 21-11 and tied North Carolina for first place in the league with a 11-5 record. However, the Cavaliers were 17-16 in 2007-08 and finished 10th in the conference and were next to last in the ACC this season. Oklahoma's Jeff Capel and Xavier's Sean Miller are expected to be two names in the mix to replace Leitao. Prior to his time at Virginia, Leitao spent three years as the head coach at DePaul following a stint as an assistant coach at UConn. The players were informed of the decision Monday afternoon at around 1 p.m. ET. This season was Leitao's first without Sean Singletary at point guard, and while Leitao said after last season that he expected to begin fully implementing his philosophy and system this year, the Cavaliers remained one of the league's worst defensive and rebounding teams. The Cavaliers routinely trailed by double figures at halftime, even at John Paul Jones Arena, where they went 9-8, and fan interest waned as the team's difficulties continued. The $130 million arena, opened just three years ago, seats more than 14,000 for basketball, but drew an average of just over 10,000 this season. Apathy was more apparent during Leitao's weekly hourlong radio show, which more than once attracted no callers. On the court, Leitao's distribution of playing time was often befuddling as players got significant minutes one game, and then went several games playing sparingly if at all. Earlier in the season, sophomore Mustafa Farrakhan checked in with Virginia losing by 15 points at Virginia Tech and almost shot them back into the game by himself. Farrakhan hit four 3-pointers and scored 15 points in a span of less than four minutes as Virginia lost 78-75. Farrakhan started the next game against North Carolina and played 27 minutes, but shot just 4-for-15 from the field in an 83-61 loss, and his minutes dwindled steadily thereafter. The Cavaliers were young, with only two seniors in forward Mamadi Diane and center Tunji Soroye. Diane was their leading returning scorer, but started the season slowly and soon found himself relegated to the bench, while the oft-injured Soroye played minimally all year. Only in the last two games, when Diane scored 23 points on senior day and then followed up with 24 against Boston College in the Cavaliers' one-and-done ACC appearance, did he show any of the flashes of potential that marked four very inconsistent seasons in Charlottesville. Indeed, Virginia's lone bright spot was the arrival of Sylven Landesberg, a New York City native who led the team in scoring and was a runaway winner as the ACC's top rookie in 2009. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
Tagged: DePaul, Virginia

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