New women’s basketball coach Amaka “Mox” Agugua-Hamilton Matt Riley/UVA Athletics

UVA extended the contracts of three coaches this spring, with men’s lacrosse coach Lars Tiffany and tennis coaches Andres Pedroso and Sara O’Leary signing new deals.

Tiffany, who has led the Cavaliers to consecutive national championships, signed an extension through the 2026 season.

“Lars has done a tremendous job establishing our men’s lacrosse program as the best in the nation,” director of athletics Carla Williams said. “Back-to-back national championships during unprecedented and unbelievably challenging times is simply amazing.”

Pedroso, director of tennis and men’s tennis coach, and women’s coach O’Leary signed through 2027.

“Andres has done an outstanding job in his dual role as the director of our tennis programs and the men’s head coach,” Williams said. “He was instrumental in the addition of our new outdoor tennis complex at the Boar’s Head Sports Club, guided our team to last year’s ACC Championship and continues to attract some of the top amateur players in the world to attend UVA.”

O’Leary has led UVA to a top-10 national ranking after taking over an unranked team. The Cavaliers have qualified for the NCAA championship tournament each year since she arrived and reached the Sweet 16 last season.

“Since Sara joined our staff in 2017, she has done a remarkable job of advancing our women’s tennis program,” Williams said. “She has great energy and is a tremendous competitor which translates to our players on the court.”

The extensions came a week after UVA hired Amaka “Mox” Agugua-Hamilton as women’s basketball coach. She replaces Tina Thompson, who was fired with a year remaining on her contract after going 30-63 in four seasons.

“We are thrilled and very fortunate to have recruited Coach Mox to UVA,” Williams said. “She is a gifted teacher, a skilled tactician of the game and a person who cares deeply about her players and vice versa.”

With surging TV ratings, record attendance and lucrative endorsement deals for the sport’s biggest stars, women’s college basketball is enjoying a rise in popularity. UVA has been on the sidelines for much of the recent growth of the sport but is betting on Agugua-Hamilton to restore a faded brand to national prominence.

Agugua-Hamilton is a graduate of Hofstra University and received a master’s degree from Virginia Commonwealth University. She arrives at UVA from Missouri State, where she led that team to the last two NCAA tournaments, including a Sweet 16 appearance in 2021. Agugua-Hamilton grew up in Northern Virginia during the heyday of the UVA program in the 1990s and is embracing the challenge of returning the program to that level.

“The tradition here for many, many years was to pursue championships and to put up banners in the stands,” she said at her introductory press conference. “We will get back to that.”

There’s much work to be done. UVA has not had a winning season in four years, has not won the ACC regular-season title since 2000 and has not reached a Final Four since 1992, when it reached its third straight under coach Debbie Ryan (Educ ’77), with a team led by star point guard Dawn Staley (Col ’92), a two-time national player of the year.

Staley has been a major part of the sport’s recent surge in popularity. In April, she coached the University of South Carolina to its second national championship. The game drew the highest TV ratings for a women’s national championship since 2004, and the highest for any college basketball game on ESPN, men’s or women’s, since 2008.

Attendance at the NCAA tournament set a record. As a group, women’s basketball players receive the second-most endorsement money from Name, Image, Likeness deals now allowed by the NCAA, ranking behind football players and ahead of men’s basketball players.

With top-notch facilities, elite academics, and a proud tradition, Agugua-Hamilton said the program can be nationally competitive again.

“Honestly, there’s no reason why we can’t win here,” she said.