March 24, 2009
Last Monday, Dave Leitao resigned as the head men's basketball coach at Virginia, and since then, the athletic department has been very busy looking for the right man for the job. As the coaching search enters its ninth day, speculation of candidates to replace Leitao continues to dominate the headlines. Craig Littlepage has declined to comment to CBS19 at this time, despite efforts to reach the Virginia athletic director.
Minnesota's Tubby Smith was rumored to be at the top of the list, but this past weekend, he informed the Golden Gophers that he has no intention of leaving. Smith is happy with the direction the program is headed, but knows there is still work to be done. "I plan on being here for a very long time," Smith told the Minneapolis Star Tribune. He went on to say that he believes that Minnesota can be a top 20 team next season and compete for a Big Ten title.
Anthony Grant of Virginia Commonwealth has also been a rumored candidate. Grant led the Rams to a 24-10 season, including a CAA championship and an NCAA Tournament berth. VCU fell to UCLA, 65-64, in first round action. Grant seems to be a very popular coach, as he has been linked to the open Alabama and Georgia jobs as well. Grant interviewed this past weekend with Crimson Tide officials, and published reports indicate he will travel to Alabama on Wednesday.
With Smith out of the running and Grant at the top of Alabama's list, who's left? Oklahoma's Jeff Capel and Xavier's Sean Miller are two other coaches that have been pegged as being on Virginia's list by several media outlets. Both coaches will lead their respective clubs in the Sweet 16 this week.
Stay tuned to CBS19, ABC16, WAHU FOX27, and www.wcav.tv for all the latest and up-to-date information on the coaching search.