Here at Darden Admissions, we’re pretty big basketball fans, and March Madness is one of our favorite times of the year. We’re counting down the hours until our #1 seeded ‘Hoos take on Gardner Webb (3:10 pm on Tru TV) – as we hope you are – and in the spirit of the season, we wanted to share two recent basketball-related stories from across the UVA/Darden family of publications. A little light reading during TV timeouts? Perhaps! Let’s. Go. ‘Hoos.

Tony Bennett’s ‘Five Pillars’: Why They Work and What We Can Learn

Who doesn’t love Tony Bennett? He is the first ACC coach to win 17 ACC games in a season, one of three coaches in ACC history to achieve back-to-back 30-win seasons and a four-time ACC Coach of the Year. His teams have won ACC Tournaments in 2014 and in 2018 and ACC regular season titles in 2014, 2015, 2018 and 2019. He is the only living three-time winner of the Henry Iba Award for national coach of the year, and he still holds the NCAA record for three point field goal accuracy. In other words, he’s been VERY successful.

And what’s the key to his success? At the core of his coaching philosophy are “five pillars”: humility, passion, unity, servanthood and thankfulness. Earlier this week on UVA Today, Darden faculty members Sean Martin, Morela Hernandez, Lynn Isabella, Mary Gentile and Ed Hess weighed in on each of these pillars, sharing insights about how each principle helps build a strong team.

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How A UVA Darden Alumnus Helped Put the ‘Madness’ in March

And from the Darden Report comes a story about how Roger Werner (MBA ’77), who served as COO and CEO for ESPN during the 1980s, helped grow the NCAA Tournament – and college basketball – to a truly national pastime.

“When we were building ESPN, broadcast networks owned all major rights to live sports, and we had to figure out where we could build a powerful consumer base. At the time, March Madness was essentially limited to the Final Four on CBS, and everything leading up to that was either not covered or covered regionally. We jumped on it, and college basketball became the first and most powerful consumer franchise that we built, other than the ‘SportsCenter’ news platform.”

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