Thursday, January 26, 2006
Of 'boot the hoot' and Doughty’s education
Pettinella shares UVa-McQuaid Jesuit connection
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I’ll be honest. When I first heard that former University of Pennsylvania basketball player Ryan Pettinella was transferring to Virginia, I just assumed that he would not be coming on scholarship.
As one-time UVa men’s basketball coach Bill Gibson told me: “You know what happens when you assume something? You make an ‘ass’ out of ‘you’ and ‘me.’ “
I can still picture myself sitting in Gibson’s office – more than 30 years ago -- and him writing the word “assume” on the blackboard and dividing it by syllables.
”Who was Bill Gibson?” I’m sure a lot of UVa fans are asking.
Gibson was the head coach at UVa for 11 years and the immediate predecessor to Terry Holland. Virginia fans campaigned for Gibson’s scalp with their infamous “Boot the Hoot” campaign, but he persevered and recruited Barry Parkhill and oversaw UVa’s move to big-time status when it went 21-7 in 1972.
I can’t remember why Gibson resigned and took the South Florida job after the 1974 season. I don’t think he was pushed, but he may have felt unappreciated.
In any case, I digress.
THE MORE I READ about Pettinella, the more I can see why he might have intrigued some people.
As a sophomore at Penn, Pettinella averaged 4.8 points and 3.0 minutes. He wasn’t a starter, but he played in all 29 games for a Quakers’ team that went 20-9. He shot 50 percent from the field but he needs some work from the free-throw line, where he was 34-of-80 (42.5 percent).
The fact that he attempted 80 free throws in 361minutes says something for his mobility and aggressiveness, as does the fact that he was headed to Cincinnati before Bearcats’ coach Bob Huggins was dismissed. He even had a “bio” on Cincinnati’s website for a time.
Petinella’s subsequent decision to attend Monroe College, a two-year college in Rochester, N.Y., was well-advised. If he graduates from Monroe, he will be eligible for Virginia next season, and, because he has not played basketball for Monroe, he will have two years of eligibility at UVa.
With five players signed or committed for next season, Virginia currently does not have a scholarship available for Pettinella, but he is capable of paying his way until one becomes available. His father, Ed, is a Syracuse graduate and member of the board of the Syracuse School of Business.
Pettinella, an avid weight-lifter who expects to play at 6-9 and 240 pounds, was a third-team All-New York selection at McQuaid Jesuit in Pittsford, N.Y. That’s the alma mater of Tom Sheehey, a highly touted 1983 UVa signee who went on to a respectable career for the Cavaliers.
McQuaid Jesuit is also the alma mater of former Virginia walk-on Cade Lemcke, who lives in Charlottesville and informed the Cavaliers’ staff of Pettinella’s availability. Current UVa assistant Rob Lanier was familiar with Pettinella from his tenure as head coach at Siena.
“It’s awesome,” Pettinella told the Democrat and Chronicle in Rochester. “To think I’d be going to Virginia after everything that’s happened – I never thought that.”
IN THIS COLUMN last week, it was suggested that the hiring of Dave Borbely as UVa’s new offensive-line coach represented a shift toward national recruiting since Borbely’s last three jobs were at Stanford, Notre Dame and Colorado.
“I don’t think there’s any interpretation to it,” Groh said. “We’re looking to hire the best-fit offensive-line coach we could find and he’s got a significant background in doing the things that are foundation things in our system. I try to keep everybody in the same philosophical family for compatibility purposes.”
Unlike earlier hire Bobby Diaco, whom Groh remembered from an all-star game in which Groh’s son played, his association with Borbely has lasted about 3 ½ weeks.
“When we hired the original staff, the one position I didn’t have a fix on in our ‘network’ was the offensive line,” Groh said. “I called up a number of guys I respected and said, ‘Tell me some guys.’ Ron Prince’s name came up two or three times and I said ‘whoa.’ “
REGARDING SAFETY Tony Franklin, whose marijuana-possession case has been pushed back to Feb. 21, Groh indicated he’s not in any hurry to make a decision on Franklin’s return for a fifth year.
“I’ve only been there a day and a half since the students have been back,” said Groh, located on his carphone between recruiting visits. “What I told Tony was, when I get off the road and I’m there full time, we’ll get together and talk about it.’