Making A List …

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Jed Williams

During this tumultuous time of economic collapse, energy crisis, political scandal, and BCS chaos, we’re issued somber warnings faster than eggnog re-fills. This Christmas, be thankful. Hold onto to whatcha got. Count your blessings.

To all of that, I readily take my marching orders and reply with a holiday “amen” … except, that is, when the subject is athletics at my dear ol’ UVa. While the past 12 months have offered up heartwarming stories and exemplary student athletes, 2008 has been a big bah humbug on the playing fields, with the lumps of coal pelting Wahoos on the very first day of the New Year in the Gator Bowl.

Between the stunning fold against Texas Tech in Jacksonville and now, a men’s basketball team withered, a women’s basketball club had its NCAA Tournament hearts broken, men’s lacrosse and tennis matched that heartbreak in May, another baseball uprising ended in regional disappointment, both soccer teams fell short again, and the football program was engulfed in more turmoil, controversy, and disappointment than any I can remember.

Virginia fans, bless your aching hearts, 2008 has been difficult to digest. That’s why I urge you: be defiant, ignore the market forces, forget the trends, and mute the pundits. This Christmas, ask for more. Want more. Expect more.

Here is my lengthy-yet-realistic Christmas wish list to be dropped at the doorsteps of Craig Littlepage, Al Groh, Dave Leitao, and others.

True Gridiron Change

Remember the days of McMullen-to-Pearman hook-and-ladder? Of Miller-to-Estes toss-and-pass? Of Schaub dishing and Hagans dashing? Of creativity and unpredictability that made Groh’s initial teams such fun to watch? Me neither. Those days are long gone, replaced by 7-5 losses, stretch sweeps, and eye-gouging statistical rankings.

I’m not here to propose names. I don’t dwell in the McCue Center’s inner sanctum and don’t know who might be the frontrunners (though, like everyone else, I have my hunches). But I do know this: it needs to be someone new. Ron Prince is not the right fit. I like Ron and have found him confident, sharp, and impressive.