University of Virginia fans welcomed back the Cavaliers Tuesday after an NCAA Tournament win. Watch video and see photos of their triumphant return.
The Virginia Cavaliers returned home triumphant Tuesday afternoon after a Monday night win in the NCAA Tournament.
Players were welcomed by jubilant fans, who surrounded the team on both sides and cheered as they walked from their bus to the stage.
Virginia beat Texas Tech 85-77 in overtime after years of disappointment. Lines to buy Virginia championship gear were long as fans anticipated the team’s return.
“What these guys did under the bright lights was amazing. And I just felt like I was going along for the ride and they made it one of the greatest joys of my coaching career, so I’ll be forever grateful,” Cavaliers coach Tony Bennett said to the screaming crowd as players stood behind him.
“The crowd in Minneapolis was amazing, you guys being here … we’re looking forward to celebrating,” Bennett said.
Fans began arriving outside John Paul Jones Arena before 4 p.m. and eagerly awaited the team’s arrival.
“I’m really excited for U.Va., the history of the team, everything,” Donna Dodd told WTOP as she waited to welcome the team back. Dodd’s daughter and son-in-law are U.Va. alumni from the class of 2004.
Hundreds of fans watched the thrilling game Monday night at the John Paul Jones Arena, and crowds spilled out onto the streets of Virginia to celebrate the team’s victory, cheering from roofs and even setting a couch on fire.
The game brought out fans from all over the region and alumni of all ages. WTOP’s Kristi King described the scene as euphoric and deafening.
Virginia finished the season with a school record of 35 wins.