- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 30, 2009

1996 After losing three starters and a top inside sub from an Elite Eight team, Virginia endures its first sub-.500 season since 1987-88.

1997 Courtney Alexander averages 14.8 points as the Cavaliers beat North Carolina and Maryland at home and reach the NCAA tournament. The following offseason, offcourt issues prompt Alexander to transfer with two years of eligibility remaining in the following offseason.

1998 Curtis Staples sets the NCAA record for 3-pointers made (since broken by Duke’s J.J. Redick). It’s a bright spot as Virginia struggles to its worst ACC record (3-13) since 1962 and must play five games against No. 1 teams.

March 15, 1998 Coach Jeff Jones is ousted after eight seasons.

March 28, 1998 Virginia hires Providence’s Pete Gillen, who made eight NCAA trips.

1999 Donald Hand and Chris Williams both average more than 16 points as the Cavaliers barely miss a .500 season despite starting the year with seven scholarship players.

2000 After a sound 15-5 start, the Cavaliers drop six of their last 10 and become the first ACC team to post a 9-7 league record and miss the NCAA tournament.

2001 Virginia rips Maryland and Wake Forest in back-to-back home games and is ranked No. 6 in early February. But the season ends on a three-game skid, including losses in the ACC and NCAA tournament openers.

2002 Behind Roger Mason Jr., Virginia peaks at No. 4 and enters February in the top 10. However, the Cavaliers drop nine of 12 to miss the tournament, and Mason turns pro after the season.

2003 The Cavaliers sweep defending national champion Maryland but also lose seven straight late in the season and land in the NIT, where Virginia wins a postseason game for the first time since 1995.

2004 Virginia wins five of seven late in the season — including an ACC tournament game for the first time since 1995 — and earns an NIT invite for the third straight year.

2005 Devin Smith averages 16.5 points, but the Cavaliers endure their first losing season since Gillen’s first year. Virginia spends December in the Top 25, but a free fall drives increasingly apathetic fans away.

March 14, 2005 Gillen resigns three days after Virginia loses in the ACC quarterfinals.

April 16, 2005 Dave Leitao is hired after three seasons at DePaul.

2006 In the final season at aging University Hall, Leitao coaxes a .500 season and NIT berth from a team that upsets North Carolina and Boston College at home.

2007 Virginia opens sparkling John Paul Jones Arena. Guards Sean Singletary and J.R. Reynolds spur the Cavaliers to a share of the ACC regular-season title and the second round of the NCAA tournament.

2008 Singletary averages 19.8 points (and becomes the fifth Virginia player to score 2,000 for his career), but the Cavaliers lose 10 of 11 in one stretch and squeak into the College Basketball Invitational.

2009 A precocious team craters to 10-18 — including a stretch of 12 losses in 14 games — leaving Virginia with its worst winning percentage in 42 years. Freshman Sylven Landesberg averages a team-high 16.6 points.

March 16, 2009 Leitao is ousted after going 63-60 in four seasons.

March 31, 2009 In a surprise move, Washington State coach Tony Bennett is hired.

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