Leitao gone - have we jumped the gun here?

Monday, March 16 2009 by Ben

By many new reports, Dave Leitao has been let go by the university.

I don't agree with this decision 100%.  It doesn't mean I think it was a bad idea (maybe it isn't), but I think it was handled too hastily after a very difficult season.  In my opinion, Leitao should've been given one more year to progress.  A tight leash, for sure, but a manageable one for someone in Leitao's position. 

Leitao had a young, good core.  He should've been given one more year to let it mature.

Whoever inherits the roster will undoubtedly be lucky.  There's a solid, not spectacular core here.  That's all dependent on if Sylven Landesberg stays.  That's the wildcard.  Landesberg there have been various speculations that he'd leave and right now, given this turmoil.  Could you blame him?  Task #1 for the new coach will be keeping Landesberg, who could probably use another year of seasoning.

So, who's the front runner for the coaching vacancy?  Let's just conjecture some names.  I've got no idea whether or not there's any reason to believe these folks would be considering the job.  AGAIN THIS IS PURE SPECULATION!

Marc Iavaroni - The Virginia alumnus and longtime Phoenix Suns assistant was let go by the Memphis Grizzlies earlier this year.  He's long said that he doesn't have any desire to coach in college.  Would a (somewhat more) stable job opportunity lure him back to C'ville?

Anthony Grant - Widely considered a top mid-major coach and just down the road at Virginia Commonwealth, Grant has a decent track record against Duke.  He should be considered, definitely.

Tubby Smith - The last time Virginia was in a coaching search, the Wahoos flirted with Smith, who would leave a year later to head up Minnesota.  Surely, Charlottesville must be warmer than St. Paul.

Any other ideas?  Let me know in the comments.

8 comment(s) and 1 trackback(s)

Don't forget Jeff Capel.

Will wrote on Monday, March 16 2009

I live in Minnesota, and believe me when I say that Tubby Smith is like a god up here. I would think that the Minnesota suits would do everything in their power to keep Tubby here. While it may be warmer in Charlottesville than Minneapolis-St. Paul, it is easier to get somewhere in the Big 10 right now than it is in the ACC.

Will wrote on Monday, March 16 2009

I should also mention that I brought up Tubby to Virginia on a message board up here, and panic is ensuing.

If you look at some of the mesageboards, you'd think that Tubby had already called people personally to say he's interested. While I think there's a good chance Tubby would listen to a call from Craig about the job (there's a reason these rumors get started afterall) I do not really think he would come here, nor do I think he's the right man for the job. That said, I don't think I could say no to him if he did want to come here.

Grant may be the only realistic one on the list, but he's not the home run hire that our program needs, I don't think. Maybe Capel is realistic since he wants to come back to the ACC - but would him coming here and having success put him in line to be K's successor?

NM wrote on Monday, March 16 2009

Tubby has been mentioned for the Georgia vacancy also (where he coached once before), and the story on their blogs has been that his incentive package at Minny might be too rich for UGA to match. And given the amount UGA is supposedly planning to spend (north of $2M), I doubt UVa would have much to say either. Unless, for some reason, he *really* wants to have a shot at the ACC before he retires. I'm guessing Capel would be a similar situation -- financially, OU can afford to match anything anybody else will offer, so it's going to have to go to non-monetary assets like conference and arena for us to have a shot.

Anyway, as a Georgia AND Virginia fan, this will be an interesting month...

A.J. wrote on Monday, March 16 2009

Does anyone think Littlepage had a plan with this one since Iavaroni was available? It is the sort of name he would like for the expensive JPJ Arena.

Also, Grant was considered for the UF job when it looked like Donovan was going to go. I believe Grant was an assistant at UF for the first year of the national championship team. He has done a great job at VCU, but didn't Leitao do a good job at DePaul? And wasn't he an assistant at UConn during at least one of their national championships? I feel like we are basically getting the same guy we already had, but starting over.

I hate to say it ... is Minnesota a more lucrative job than UVa right now? Tubby is in the tournament and has the chance to be competitive in the Big 10, as opposed to next to last in the ACC.

My biggest problem with Gillen was that I never saw players improve from year to year. I would argue that players actually got worse as other teams figured our best players out. Dave Leitao was better, JR Reynolds and Jason Cain, being my real examples. Outside of that though, I can't really think of anything that was truly defining about Dave's time. He has some of the best facilities in the country and is in the ACC. If he can not bring in big name talent or at least develop some, we are in trouble. Landesburg may be special but there obviously was not enough talent/coaching schemes around him to make him good "enough" to get the job done. I was miffed about playing time, how disorganized we looked at times, and I still do not understand what the core philosophy of our team was.

As far as new coaches.....

I have no idea. Tubby's team has done alot with limited talent at Minnesota, but I think his teams underperformed with a ton of talent at UK.

I didn't really see players improve over Leitao's tenure. Maybe Cain, maybe Reynolds. But i'm not convinced that they didn't improve just due to maturing. Singletary didn't really improve much, Diane didn't, Tunji didn't, Tucker didn't, etc.

While I'm on the subject, can I just say for the record that I don't like retiring Singletary's number. I'm sorry, I love Sean, but you gotta win more than 1 NCAA game to get retired, especially if you are a PG.

Back to Leitao...I am not happy with him leaving. I don't know the story...did he quit? Did he get fired? Who knows? Anyway, I thought he deserved one more year. I think you deserve to see your first class graduate. I understand that fan support was waning, and donors were leaving. So whatever.

Will we get Tubby? Hell no. Will we get Jeff Capel? I don't know. Will we get Sean Miller? I doubt it. I have already said this to specific people, but I bet anybody $5 that we end up with Anthony Grant. I'm not sure if thats a good or bad hire. What I am sure about is that it would remind me a lot of Leitao. Mostly because prior to our coaching search, I'd never heard of him.

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