Coaching changes, conflict liven up Virginia women's college basketball

But Virginia hasn't returned to the ACC final since and hasn't captured the regular season in 11 years. The Cavaliers have lost 18 straight games, and 23 of the last 24, versus Duke, 14 of the last 15 against North Carolina.

Ryan's stirring battle with pancreatic cancer inspired legions, but like Larry at ODU, she lost her recruiting mojo, and the product suffered.

Enter Boyle, who hit all the right notes in her introductory news conference Monday. She played and worked as an assistant coach at Duke before ascending to the corner office at Richmond and Cal-Berkeley, leading the Spiders and Bears to the NCAA tournament.

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In short, Boyle appears a central-casting hire, and Virginia certainly is paying her as such with a $700,000 annual salary.

Wolff's total compensation at Virginia Tech is approximately $350,000, and absent women's coaching experience, he's far from prototypical. But dismiss him at your own peril.

Wolff recruited exceptionally well as a men's assistant under Jeff Jones at Virginia. As Boston University's head coach, he guided the Terriers to a 247-197 record and two NCAA tournament appearances in 15 seasons.

Nor is Wolff unfamiliar with the women's game. His daughter, Nicole, was a high school All-American and played collegiately at Connecticut. In fact, Boyle recruited Nicole for Duke.

One of two men coaching ACC women's basketball — Wake Forest's Mike Petersen is the other — Wolff inherits a program that earned nine NCAA bids from 1994-2006. But in seven ACC seasons, all under Dunkenberger, the Hokies are 27-71 in conference play and have lost 10 straight to Virginia.

Greatest challenge: Wolff.

Greatest advantages: Boyle.

Greatest pressure: Larry.

Women's basketball in Virginia just became much more interesting.

David Teel can be reached at 247-4636 or by e-mail at For more from Teel, read his blog at and follow him at