Time Runs Out For Leitao

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Dave Leitao officially resigned Monday afternoon.

Just as quickly as it looked promising, vying for NCAA tournament bids in the first two years, it fell apart in the next two. University officials announced Dave Leitao had coached his final game at Virginia on Monday afternoon.

Two years removed from an ACC Coach of the Year Award, the former Cavalier coach saw his program, and along with it the support of students, fans and donors, decline steadily.

The decision, regardless of its origin or warrant, came as a surprise to me today because of its timing. Less than a week after Virginia Athletics Director Craig Littlepage proclaimed, “Dave is our coach,” Leitao is gone. While this past season was disappointing, painful, and at times downright embarrassing, news of Leitao’s departure at the end of only his fourth season is still somewhat shocking. In four years, he tallied a 63-60 record, badly scarred by his final season.

Beginning this season, after all, it looked like Leitao didn’t have any chance of losing his job. In fact, in The Sabre’s preseason roundtable, Jeff White of the Richmond Times-Dispatch argued “Barring a scandal or NCAA violations, Leitao will be back as coach in 2009-10. That, however, could be a make-or-break season for him.” Unfortunately, no one could foresee this season’s events.

As the losses piled up, however, it became clear that everyone was becoming frustrated with the situation. Fans left JPJA seats unfilled and expressed angst on message boards. Students stopped coming. Even Leitao himself appeared lifeless at times.

One can only guess as to the combination of factors that led to his resignation. The official press release, says resignation, while initial reports suggest a forced removal. The University agreed to pay Leitao $2.1 million upon his departure.) , but it seems likely that the move came as a result of compounding pressure and frustration from all sides with ...