Dirk Katstra, chief fundraiser for Virginia athletics, highlighted some interesting numbers in a recent gathering of UVa supporters at Roanoke Country Club.
It had been 10 years since Virginia set a series of strategic goals in 2002 and, over that time, the Cavaliers had won 49 ACC championships.
That number subsequently grew to 51 with the addition of titles last weekend in men’s tennis and rowing. Not only does that lead the ACC over the past 10 years, but it isn’t close. Florida State is second with 39.
Virginia has to be happy with those numbers, although the strategic plan set a goal of 70 ACC championships and 12 national championships over a 10-year span.
UVa has won six national championships in the past 10 years, including three in men’s lacrosse and one apiece in women’s lacrosse, men’s soccer and rowing.
(Duke and North Carolina are tops in the ACC in that category with nine apiece).
Katstra indicated that Virginia might tweak its goals when it comes up with a new 10-year plan, but my understanding is that the number of ACC and NCAA championships will remain the same.
Here’s a goal I would recommend: win a championship in each sport at least once during a 10-year period.
Virginia’s numbers are impressive, but consider this. Of the 51 ACC championships, more than half, 33, come from four teams: rowing (nine), men’s tennis (9), men’s swimming (eight) and women’s swimming (seven).
The UVa men’s basketball team hasn’t won a title since 1976.
Virginia’s football team hasn’t won a title since its co-championship in 1995.
Women’s basketball hasn’t won a title since 1992.
Football, men’s basketball and women’s basketball are the sports into which Virginia sinks the most money, although baseball is ahead of women’s basketball in terms of revenue produced.
This is the argument UVa fans have with their Virginia Tech rivals all of the time. In their eight years as an ACC member, the Hokies have won four football championships, but only 13 ACC championships. Virginia has 41 conference championships over that time.
Think Tech would trade those four football championships for UVa’s 41 titles?
Virginia fans might argue that the Hokies are inordinately consumed by football. But, if the shoe were on the other foot, would the Cavaliers be any different?
They’d still take heart in men’s lacrosse and more recently baseball, but there’s another issue with the four teams accounting for 38 of the 51 titles since 2002-2003.
Virginia sponsors 25 athletic teams and more than half of them, 13, have not won an ACC championship in the past decade.
UVa has had a men’s golf team since 1955 and has yet to win a title in 58 years, although the Cavaliers came close this year and boasted the individual champion in Swiss-bred senior Ben Rusch.
Other programs going on 30 years without an ACC title are women’s tennis (1978-2012), volleyball (1981-2011) and field hockey (1983-2011).
If Virginia could become unbeatable in men’s tennis virtually overnight, it’s not unreasonable to think the women could become contenders and they have moved in that direction.
Volleyball is a sport more commonly identified with the West Coast, but last I looked, there were no ACC teams on the West Coast. Same with softball, a sport in which UVa has been abysmal, basically since failing to pursue Angela Tincher.
But, hey, things could be much worse. Boston College has won one ACC title in its seven years an ACC member, the men’s soccer crown in 2007. Miami has five championships in eight years; Wake Forest has eight titles in 10.
The point is, Virginia can be proud of all the ACC titles it has won, particularly in the Olympic sports, but the Cavaliers know there is room for improvement.