March 6, 2007
Virginia men's head basketball coach Dave Leitao is the 2007 Atlantic Coast Conference Coach of the Year. He is the first Virginia men's head basketball coach to receive the award since Terry Holland in 1982 and only the third UVa coach to receive the honor. Holland also received the award in 1981 and Bill Gibson was honored in 1972.
Leitao received 64 votes in the balloting by members of the Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association and Maryland's Gary Williams finished second with 19 votes. Also receiving votes were Seth Greenberg of Virginia Tech (15), Roy Williams of North Carolina (4), Al Skinner of Boston College (3) and Sidney Lowe of NC State (1).
The Cavaliers tied for the 2006-07 ACC regular season championship with a conference record of 11-5 and compiled an overall record of 20-9. It's the fifth time Virginia has won or shared the ACC regular season title and the first time since 1995. The team was picked to finish eighth in the ACC in the preseason.
UVa's 11 conference victories are the most for the Cavaliers since they won 12 ACC games during the 1994-95 regular season and it's the first time Virginia has won at least 20 games since the 2000-01 season.
The 2006-07 season is Leitao's second as head coach of the Cavaliers. UVa finished tied for seventh in the ACC with a 7-9 conference record last season after being picked in the preseason to finish last in the 12-team conference. Virginia finished the season with an overall record of 15-15 and participated in the National Invitation Tournament.
"It's obviously very humbling to receive this award," Leitao said. "I have to give thanks to God first because He makes me a whole lot stronger than I know I am. Thanks to our players for listening and receiving direction. Really, it's been more about them than I could possibly ever do. Thanks also to my staff for the countless hours, the tireless work and for putting up with my ranting and my raving. I'm not always the easiest guy to get along with and I want to give thanks to them.
"When you're in a team sport, there really isn't any such thing as an individual award. This is something that's shared in recognition of what everyone around our program has done."
Virginia begins play in the 2007 ACC Tournament in Tampa, Fla., with a quarterfinal game on Friday (March 9) at 7 p.m. The Cavaliers are seeded second in the tournament and have a first round bye. UVa will play the winner of a first round game between Duke and North Carolina State