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If You're Looking For This Week's College Notebook...

For the last five months, we’ve been honored and proud to be carrying Doug Doughty’s College Notebook. When Doug left the Roanoke Times at the end of January earlier this year, he wasn’t exactly sure what he was going to do, so I offered to run it on our site, as I thought it was important for him to keep his brand going by publishing College Notebook somewhere.

Doug now has his own site on Google Sites, and you can reach the site by clicking here. To access the current College Notebook, just go up to the upper right-hand corner of his site and click on “College Notebook” and you will see today’s edition as well as past entries.

Should you forget the new web address, Doug will remain listed among our authors, so if you click on Doug’s name in our menu under “Authors” it will take you directly to Doug’s site. Plus, his previous College Notebooks he’s written the past 5 months will remain in our archives, so you can just go to our “categories” section and click on “College Notebook.”

In the website business, numbers and traffic are important, so I strongly encourage everyone to check out and support Doug’s site. And if you’re like I am, and you’ve read Doug on Thursdays for the past 45 years, you can certainly continue at his new home here.

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Virginia 11th, Virginia Tech 32nd In Learfield Directors' Cup

It would have been easy to dismiss or overlook the Learfield Directors' Cup rankings this year, coming, as they did, following a school year when there was no assurance that many sports would even be conducted.

Virginia and Virginia Tech finished 11th and 32nd respectively among Division I programs in competition for the 2020-2021 Learfield Directors' Cup rankings that reflect athletic success.

There was no Directors' Cup competition in 2019-2020 due to the coronavirus. Prior to that, Virginia was eighth at the end of the 2018-2019 season and the Hokies were 49th.

Texas won the 2020-21 Directors' Cup title, marking only the second time an institution other than Stanford has taken the title. 

The ACC had six teams in the top 25, compared to the Southeastern Conference with eight.

North Carolina was ranked fourth and led the ACC schools, followed (in order) by UVa, Notre Dame, Florida State Duke and N.C. State in the top 25.

One explanation for Virginia's drop was the inactivity this year of sports such as women's basketball, which played only five games, all before Christmas, after playing 30 games the previous year.

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When It Comes To Halifax County Athletes, He's Seen It All

One of the highlights for me this week was the opportunity to speak with Tucker McLaughlin, a longtime sportswriter for the News and Record of South Boston in Halifax County.

A phone call to the News and Record office confirmed what I had heard about McLaughlin's undergoing three rounds of chemotherapy as the result of a brain tumor.

"He's still working" a colleague told me and I spoke with Tucker (at right) later in the afternoon -- twice in fact, including a second call in which we discussed the Major League Baseball draft, where University of Virginia pitcher Andrew Abbott had been selected by the Cincinnati Reds in the second round.

Abbott was a baseball standout at Halifax County High School, where he also was a swimmer of some distinction.

Some of the outstanding Halifax County athletes covered by McLaughlin included UVa running back Barry Word, the 1985 ACC rushing champion; and Tyrone Davis, whose 2,153 receiving yards rank third in school history. Three Words played at Virginia and earned a combined nine varsity letters.

AS BEST AS I CAN REMEMBER, McLaughlin didn't start covering Virginia athletics until 1990, the year that Virginia was ranked No. 1 in the country. We were headed down to the field from the parking lot one day when he shared a little bit of his background.

He had not attended Virginia but had UVa ties. I'm not sure what he was covering at the time but two of his major beats were high schools and auto racing, which was big in his part of the state. It wasn't long before he started to show up regularly at Virginia Tech, North Carolina, Duke and N.C. State., as well as NASCAR races.

To his credit, he didn't hesitate to hire "stringers" when he had a conflict. He didn't work in a particularly large market but didn't want his "beats" to go uncovered.

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Recent Comments
Dave Fulton

Tucker

When I research the ancient archives of the South Boston News and Record for South Boston Speedway stories, Tucker McLaughlin's by... Read More
Thursday, 15 July 2021 08:24
Dave Scarangella

Thanks for this, Dave

Via comment or replies on social media, I find myself regretting more and more that I never met Tucker. Maybe I can convince Doug ... Read More
Friday, 16 July 2021 11:17
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One Of Roanoke's Most Colorful Characters Is Retiring

The University of North Florida has announced the retirement of Lee Moon, the athletic director at UNF since 2009, and one of the true characters to come out of the Roanoke Valley.

Moon played football at William Fleming High School in Roanoke before heading to VMI, where he was an offensive lineman between 1966-69.

Moon later served as a graduate assistant at Virginia from 1972-73 and as a full-time assistant to then-UVa coach Dick Bestwick.

Moon later had full-time coaching stints at Duke, UVa, Mississippi and Kansas State, where he was the interim head coach.

Moon later served as the interim athletic director at Kansas State and was the AD at Marshall and Wyoming.

Moon's decision to retire, announced earlier in the spring, became official this week

"For the past 12 years, Coach Lee Moon has served the university with great distinction, integrity and devotion to our student-athletes, coaches and athletic programming," UNF President David Szymanski said in a statement. "Under his leadership, UNF Athletics has fostered a strong culture of athletic excellence, high academic achievement and great respect that has directly contributed to the remarkable growth and success of UNF's sports programs. His legacy will leave a long-lasting impact on our Osprey community."

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UVA Ace Abbott Has Had An Unusual Group Of Followers

Andrew Abbott has had an unusual group of followers as his Virginia baseball career comes to a close in the College World Series.

Abbott, a left-handed All-American pitcher who has been the ace of the Cavaliers' staff, is remembered by high-school rivals who competed against him in another setting.

"He swam at the South Boston YMCA and I know he swam all four years in high school," said Tyler Smith, a graduate of Patrick Henry High School in Roanoke.

"I did swimming and then cycling, and he did swimming and travel baseball. The best I knew him was when we were in middle schools."

Abbott's mother, Jeannette, coached the South Boston YMCA Sea Serpents. of which Andrew was a member.

Smith is a graduate of Virginia Tech who happened to stop by the Hokies' baseball game with visiting UVa earlier this spring.

"It was curiosity," Smith said. "I recognized him when I was on the mound. He did not know I was there. I wish I'd kept better touch with him but I didn't."

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Olympic Trials Further Evidence UVA Now A National Power

The swimming Olympic trials this week in Omaha, Nebraska were further evidence that Virginia has become a national power, particularly on the women's end.

Senior Paige Madden and sophomore Kate Douglass earned sports on the 2022 U.S. Olympics team, and freshman Alex Walsh could be added at a later time. Walsh trailed Douglass by .02 seconds in the 200 individual medley.

After winning the regular-season ACC women's swimming championship, Virginia also won the NCAA championship, the first of two for the Cavaliers, who later won the Division I men's lacrosse title.

Lord Botetourt High School graduate Olivia Bray is beginning to make her mark at Texas, earning an invitation to the Olympic trials, where she landed a spot in the final heat of the 100-meter butterfly. She finished seventh in the semifinals, touching the wall with a time of 58.36 seconds.

Making the final heat was an accomplishment by itself. She had been ranked no higher than 11th going into the competition.

"It was such a blast," Bray said this week. "It was very different from 2016."

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UVA-ODU: A Virtual Lesson In VA College Baseball History

The matchup between Virginia and Old Dominion in the baseball regional in Columbia, S.C., was a virtual lesson in college baseball history in Virginia.

Old Dominion's head coach, Chris Finwood, played at VMI from 1985-88 and was a career .300 hitter, posting a .399 average as a senior.

Finwood, later named to the VMI Sports Hall of Fame, also served as the Keydets' baseball coach from 1992-94. The Keydets won a school-record 21 games in 1993 after winning two games two games earlier.

After leaving VMI, Finwood's teams at Western Kentucky won 190 games in six years. Originally from  Hampton, he was hired by Old Dominion in athletic director Wood Selig in 2012.

Selig is a graduate of Washington and Lee who worked at Virginia and has a son in Virginia Tech's  Corps of Cadets.

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College Notebook: Bryant Pushes UVa In Men's Lacrosse

One of Virginia's toughest challenges in the NCAA men's lacrosse tournament came in a first-round match-up with Bryant, where the score was 10-10 as late as the fourth quarter before the Cavaliers prevailed 13-11.

UVa coach Lars Tiffany was quick to praise his Bryant counterpart Mike Pressler, a 1982 graduate of Washington and Lee, where he was a four-year starter in football and lacrosse

Pressler later was the head coach at Ohio Wesleyan for five seasons before serving for 16 seasons as the head coach at Duke, where he was 153-82 and led the Blue Devils to three ACC titles and 10 NCAA bids.

"The competition in Division I lacrosse when you get to the month of May is intense," Tiffany said. "Bryant’s effort today did not surprise me at all.

"Having coached against Mike Pressler and the Bulldogs during the years we had together, we fully knew what to expect and that is a tenacious team that was going to be all over the contested groundballs."

Clearly, Bryant had a chance.

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Gill Finding Success Coming Off The Bench For NBA Wizards

Anthony Gill, who transferred from South Carolina to Virginia before there was a transfer portal, scored in double figures twice in a three-game span for the Washington Wizards.

This has been the first NBA experience for Gill, who played for Khimki in the Russian-based VTB League before signing with the Wizards in November.

Much of Gill's playing time comes when he is on the floor with other reserves who have been dubbed the "Trenches."

A personal memory occurred in 2016, when Virginia and Clemson met for a rare off-campus game in Greenville, S.C., where the Cavaliers won 64-57. On the way out of the arena, I came across Gill and complimented him for his season-long successes in winning the opening tap.

As far as I know, nobody keeps records on game-opening tips or tip-offs.

"Thank you for noticing," responded an appreciative Gill, who couldn't have been any taller than his listed 6-8 and might have been a touch smaller.

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Family Of VA Governor Hopeful Has Deep Basketball Ties

Television advertisements for gubernatorial candidate Glen Youngkin may have elicited some curiosity among viewers who previously were unaware of his college basketball background.

It turns out that Youngkin scored 82 points in 58 games at Rice from 1985-89.

His son, Grant, played at St. Albans School in Washington, D.C., before walking on at Rice, where he played in eight games over three years.

The most distinguished basketball player in the Youngkin clan is the late Carroll Youngkin, who died in 2019.

Carroll Youngkin, originally from Winston-Salem, N.C., was a key figure on the 1960 team, coached by Vic Bubas,  that rewarded Duke with the 1960 ACC championship, its first ACC championship.

The elder Youngkin finished his career with 1,154 points in 81 games for Duke during a period when freshmen were ineligible.

Glen Youngkin came out of Norfolk Academy and was named first-team All-Tidewater on a squad in 1995 that included future North Carolina star and first-round NBA Draft pick J.R. Reid.

Around The ACC

Prior to its 80-77 overtime loss Tuesday night at Georgia Tech, Duke's 14-game winning streak over the Yellow Jackets was its longest active streak against any ACC team. None of the Blue Devils' eight losses this season have been by more than seven points.

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Recent Comments
Douglas R Wright

Great to see DD continue this ...

Always enjoyed Doug’s notebook.Thanks for making available.Carry on DD !
Wednesday, 03 March 2021 15:49
Dave Scarangella

Been reading College Notebook ...

Can't stop now
Wednesday, 03 March 2021 16:24
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College Notebook: Remember Dave Leitao?

After earlier accepting a contract extension through the 2013-14 season, DePaul coach Dave Leitao faced an uncertain future Wednesday as he took the Blue Demons (4-13) into a Big East tournament meeting with Providence on Wednesday night in New York.

Remember Dave Leitao?.

Leitao was the head coach at Virginia for four seasons, 2005-2009, and compiled a 65-60 record. In his last season, Virginia lost 13 of its final 16 games.

In his last game, the Cavaliers were 76-63 losers to Boston College in the ACC Tournament. My abiding memory was of running into then-UVa  associate athletic director Jon Oliver.

The impression with which I was left by Oliver was that Leitao's chances of keeping the job would be dependent on his willingness to make changes to his coaching staff.

In his conversation with me, Oliver indicated that his preference would be for Leitao to make changes in the coaching staff, specifically bringing in an assistant who previously had been a head coach.

As it was, Leitao remained loyal to his coaching staff. which included Bill Courtney, Drew Diener and Steve Seymour. That didn't last much longer.

On hand the next year was new coach Tony Bennett and a staff of Ritchie McKay, Jason Williford and Ron Sanchez. McKay and Sanchez later took head-coaching positions at Liberty and Charlotte, respectively. McKay has taken the Flames to three consecutive Atlantic Sum championships.

IT WILL BE INTERESTING to see where VMI scoring leader Greg Parham winds up after he entering the NCAA Transfer Portal. Parham is making that move after averaging 18.4 points this season for the Keydets (13-12).

Parham, a 6-foot-4 guard from Monacan High School outside Richmond, was not rated among the top 21 prospects in Virginia by 247Sports in 2018, but he had better numbers after three years in college than almost any of the in-state players recruited ahead of him.

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