On Wednesday, Tina Thompson was formally introduced as the head coach of the University of Virginia’s women’s basketball team. The press conference is above.
In the video, Virginia Athletic Director Carla Williams noted that Thompson was on her short list of candidates for the head coaching position. Thompson herself noted why she liked UVA as whole, crediting its high academic prestige as a public university, like the University of Texas, where she was the associate head coach. Thompson went to college at the University of Southern California, which also has a strong academic reputation.
Thompson also noted in her remarks that coaching takes a lot of hours that people do not see behind the scenes. She also noted that coaching wasn’t something she expected to do after her WNBA career.
UVA is well known for its men’s basketball program in recent years under Tony Bennett’s leadership, where the Cavaliers have made five consecutive NCAA tournament berths and won three ACC titles in that same timeframe, even if they lost to 16-seed UMBC in the first round. Thompson actually mentioned that Bennett, among many other coaches, texted her once she was named the head coach for the women’s basketball team.
The women’s basketball program has also been a traditional power in their own right. Coach Thompson is well known as a WNBA star, but here’s hoping that she can take Virginia to great heights, just like the men’s team has in the last several years as well.