By Jeff White (firstname.lastname@example.org)
By Jeff White (email@example.com)
Cavalier athletics director ends speculation of conference movement
Long-Time Business Director Has Served Athletics Department Since 1978
By Jeff White (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Committed to preserving and building on UVA’s longstanding tradition of academic and athletic excellence, Craig Littlepage is in his 16th year as Virginia’s Athletics Director. Littlepage’s appointment as athletics director was announced on August 21, 2001.
Littlepage served as Virginia’s interim athletics director from June 1, 2001, until his permanent appointment to the position. He had also served as the University’s interim athletics director from December of 1994 until July of 1995.
The first African-American athletics director in Atlantic Coast Conference history, Littlepage was named the Black Coaches Association’s “Athletics Administrator of the Year” in 2003 and 2006. He was also listed on Sports Illustrated’s list of the 101 most influential minorities in sports in 2003 and 2004. In March 2005, Littlepage was named one of Black Enterprise magazine’s “Most Powerful African-Americans in Sports.”
Littlepage has been a member of UVA’s athletics administration since 1990 when he was appointed an assistant athletics director, a position he held from 1990-1991. He then spent four years as the associate director of athletics for programs and six years (1995-2001) as senior associate director of athletics, managing all aspects of the athletics department’s day-to-day operations.
Littlepage leads a comprehensive 27-sport athletics program that routinely competes for championships and national rankings in many sports. At the same time, Cavalier student-athletes who exhaust their eligibility at Virginia graduate at a rate comparable to the student body as a whole. UVA student-athletes annually rank among the top Division I-A public universities in the country in graduation rates.
He has outlined a number of ambitious 10-year goals for the department to achieve by 2022: graduate 100 percent of its student-athletes; win 12 national championships and 70 conference titles; fully endow all scholarships and provide the operational support required to meet all other stated goals; build and maintain high-quality facilities; annually recruit the best student-athletes in the country (based on how coaches rate their top prospects); and fully comply with Title IX.
Such goals reflect Littlepage’s vision of “uncompromised excellence in intercollegiate athletics” as well as the department’s overall mission to “enhance and support the intellectual purpose of the University and its exemplary academic standards and traditions.”
In 2016-17, Virginia captured its third consecutive NCAA men’s tennis championship to highlight another successful athletics season in which teams or individuals from 19 of the Cavaliers’ 26 intercollegiate athletics programs advanced to NCAA postseason competition. UVA secured its 24th straight top-30 finish in the Directors’ Cup standings and placed in the top 20 in the Directors’ Cup standings for the 11th consecutive year.
In addition to Virginia’s third consecutive NCAA men’s tennis championship, men’s track and field placed a program-best third nationally and men’s golf placed a program-best 10th. Field hockey advanced to the NCAA quarterfinals and rowing placed 11th nationally. Women’s swimming and diving placed 12th at the NCAA Championships and the men’s and women’s soccer programs each made NCAA Sweet 16 appearances.
UVA captured three Atlantic Coast Conference championships and its 76 conference titles since the spring of 2002 are the most of any ACC school during that time. In 2016-17, UVA won ACC championships in field hockey (1st in program history), men’s tennis (12th overall) and rowing (eighth consecutive and 17th in 18 years).
Great progress has also been made in the area of athletics facility improvements during Littlepage’s watch, including the additions of the George Welsh Indoor Practice Facility (2013) and John Paul Jones Arena (2006).
Littlepage has held many leadership roles within the NCAA, ACC, the University-at-large and professional organizations. He is currently serving as chair of the John McLendon Foundation Steering Committee and served on the Executive Committee of the National Association of Collegiate Athletics Directors (NACDA) from 2006-10.
In February 2002, he was appointed to the 10-member Division I Men’s Basketball Committee by the NCAA Championship/Competition Cabinet and served a five-year term which was completed Aug. 31, 2007. In 2005-06, Littlepage served as the chair of the Men’s Division I Basketball Committee and administered its selection process.
Littlepage previously was a member of the NCAA Division I Infractions Committee and the NCAA Academics, Eligibility and Compliance Cabinet, serving on the Recruiting and Student-Athlete Reinstatement Subcommittees. He chaired the Reinstatement Subcommittee in 1999-2000. He also served the NCAA on committees that studied sports wagering, postgame crowd control, basketball issues, and the College Basketball Partnership. He has participated as a presenter and mentor to the NCAA’s Ethnic Minority Male Institute, the Black Coaches and Administrator Association, and other NCAA leadership development programs designed to help aspiring athletics administrators and head coach candidates in football and basketball.
Littlepage has chaired the ACC Women’s Basketball Committee, ACC Committee on Awards, ACC Student-Athlete Welfare Committee, the ACC Men’s and Women’s Swimming/Diving Committees and the ACC Men’s Soccer Committee.
He is a member of the Associate Faculty for the University’s Center for Alcohol and Substance Education, and participates in various alcohol and drug prevention/education conferences. Littlepage also has been active in the local community, having served on the Board of Directors for the Charlottesville Ronald McDonald House and serving as a Trustee with the Mount Zion Baptist Church and the St. Anne’s-Belfield School.
Before beginning his career in athletics administration, Littlepage served two stints as an assistant coach with the Cavalier men’s basketball program, from 1976-82 and from 1988-90.
Littlepage held head coaching positions at Pennsylvania (1982-85) and at Rutgers (1985-88) before returning to Virginia. While he was at Penn, the Quakers won the Ivy League championship and participated in the 1985 NCAA Tournament. Littlepage was an assistant basketball coach at Villanova for two years and at Yale for one year before joining the UVA basketball program as an assistant coach in 1976.
The LaMott, Pa., native earned his bachelor’s degree in economics from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in 1973. He was a member of three Ivy League basketball championship teams at Penn and was instrumental in the Quakers’ drive to three consecutive NCAA Eastern Regional playoff appearances. The 1970-71 Penn team that finished the year with a record of 28-1 was inducted into the Philadelphia Big-5 Hall of Fame in April 2016. In addition, Littlepage was inducted into the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame in 2014 and in 2016 was the Montgomery County (PA) Coaches’ Hall of Fame ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ recipient.
Littlepage and his wife, Margaret, have three children; two daughters Erica (31) and Erin (26), and a son Murray (28).
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Director of News Content
A 1985 graduate of UVA, White worked at the Richmond Times-Dispatch until July 2009. He was honored six times as the state's Sportswriter of the Year.
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