- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 17, 2009

From combined dispatches

Dave Leitao resigned Monday as Virginia’s men’s basketball coach after the team’s worst season in decades.

“Dave has been a respected colleague and a fine university representative in the local community during his tenure here,” athletic director Craig Littlepage said in a release from the school. “He brought a great deal of leadership, discipline and integrity to his coaching responsibilities. I appreciate his hard work and dedication to athletics at the University of Virginia.”

Leitao will be paid about $2.1 million, Littlepage said.

Enter for a chance to win $1 million.

The school said neither Leitao nor Littlepage would be available for additional comment.

Virginia finished 10-18 this season, 11th in the ACC. It was the Cavaliers’ worst record since they went 9-17 in 1967-68. Their season ended with a 76-63 loss to Boston College in the first round of the ACC tournament in a game that was never close.

Leitao won the ACC coach of the year award in 2007, when Virginia shared first place in the conference with North Carolina, but compiled a 63-60 record in his four years.

This season was his first without Sean Singletary at point guard, and while Leitao said after last season that he expected to begin fully implementing his philosophy and system this year, the Cavaliers remained one of the league’s worst defensive and rebounding teams.

The Cavaliers routinely trailed by double figures at halftime, even at John Paul Jones Arena, where they went 9-8, and fan interest waned as the team’s difficulties continued.

The $130 million arena, which opened just three years ago, seats more than 14,000 for basketball but drew an average of just over 10,000 this season. Apathy was more apparent during Leitao’s weekly hourlong radio show, which more than once attracted no callers.

On the court, Leitao’s distribution of playing time was often befuddling as players got significant minutes one game and then went several games playing sparingly if at all.

Earlier in the season, sophomore Mustafa Farrakhan checked in with Virginia losing by 15 points at Virginia Tech and almost shot them back into the game by himself. Farrakhan hit four 3-pointers and scored 15 points in a span of less than four minutes as Virginia lost 78-75.

Farrakhan started the next game against North Carolina and played 27 minutes but shot just 4-for-15 from the field in an 83-61 loss, and his minutes dwindled steadily thereafter.

FLORIDA STATE: The school will appeal the part of an NCAA sanction that would take away wins in 10 sports, including as many as 14 in football.

President T.K. Wetherell will announce Florida State’s appeal Tuesday. http://www.washingtontimes.com/admin/news/stories/362306/#

Trustees chairman Jim Smith says the board is 100 percent behind the decision.

“It’s certainly unfair to coach [Bobby] Bowden,” Smith said Monday. “It was a breakdown in academics, a breakdown that none of us condone.”

The NCAA earlier this month took away scholarships and put the school on four years’ probation as part of the punishment for 61 athletes who took a music history class in which test answers were provided and other prohibited help was received.

NEVADA: Running back Luke Lippincott has been granted a sixth year of eligibility because a knee injury forced him to miss most of last season.

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