We knew at the start of the magazine cycle to leave room for a story on the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. We just didn’t know how much room.

S. Richard Gard Jr.
S. Richard Gard Jr.

At the least, we’d reserve space in University Digest for our regular-season ACC co-champions, no matter falling short in the conference tournament, or should they exit the NCAA early. The ’Hoos make Sweet 16, we gladly up the word count.

With Elite Eight, we start thinking in terms of pages, not paragraphs. Final Four changes the unit of measure from pages to spreads—and elevates the conversation to what’s an appropriate multiple of them.

Then there was that question no one dared ask out loud: What if we go all the way? The unspoken answer: We tear up the book and start fresh.

Allow us to start fresh. Welcome to your NCAA Men’s Basketball Champions special edition of Virginia Magazine.

To help put redemption and destiny in perspective, we recruited a team of guest sportswriters. Anna Katherine Clemmons, whose journalism credits include ESPN and Sports Illustrated, writes our main story and a companion piece on the players.

Hall of Fame basketball writer David Teel deconstructs the succession of clutch plays that brought UVA glory in Minnesota, the Miracle on Nice. Share that one with your cardiologist; it graphs your Cavalier arrhythmia without the cost and inconvenience of an EKG.

Washington Post columnist and former Cavalier Daily editor Chuck Culpepper (Col ’84) deals with both heart and head, reconciling his WaPo and Wahoo selves—student of the game and former student.

(At press time, the men’s lacrosse team made its NCAA semifinal, but we have to draw the line for this issue.)

This magazine cycle began our series of quarterly sessions with UVA President James E. Ryan (Law ’92). We’re using these one-on-ones to get his comments on the range of issues presented in any given issue of Virginia Magazine, adding them to stories as appropriate. For this issue’s parley, we scrapped the original discussion list to talk about Topic A.

“What I love about this team is they represent in some respects what’s best about UVA,” Ryan told us. “They really do their very best to win, but they do it in the right way.”

The observation underscored a theme of his president’s letter, originally submitted before the basketball finals: why UVA should strive to be both great and good. Ryan said, “That basketball team is a perfect example of what I’m talking about.”

At our invitation, he updated his letter to work in the news. We thought it only fair to lend him a page from our playbook. 

S. Richard Gard Jr. (Col ’81)
Vice President, Communications, UVA Alumni Association