Dean Solomon Steps In as Guest Coach for UVA Women's Basketball

This past Sunday, Dean Ian Solomon took a timeout from his regular day-to-day responsibilities to step in as guest coach for the UVA women's basketball team as they faced off against Old Dominion University. Batten student and senior guard Jocelyn Willoughby (MPP '21) nominated Dean Solomon for the Guest Coach program, a unique offering designed to strengthen on-Grounds relationships between athletics and academics. 

“We have found that the Guest Coach program is a great way for faculty, staff, and other supporters of our program to get a behind-the-scenes look at what game day consists of for our student-athletes," said Katherine Lawrence, who helps to organize the Guest Coach program as an academic coordinator for the Athletic Department. "It takes a lot to prepare for a game, both mentally and physically, and this is the student’s opportunity to show that perspective. We find a lot of value in creating opportunities for faculty, staff, and student-athletes to interact and build relationships. When I ask for recommendations, the student-athletes are always excited to send me names!”

On the court, Willoughbywho was recently named ACC Women’s Basketball Player of the Week for her career-high performance during Virginia's season opener against Bucknellhit a game-tying three-point shot with seconds remaining in regulation, leading the Hoos to a 56-53 overtime victory. 

Photographer Tom Cogill captured game day with the dean. 

Dean Solomon coaches the women's basketball team.
Dean Solomon kicks off the day in John Paul Jones Arena. 

 

Dean Solomon coaches the women's basketball team.
Jimmy Yu, assistant director of operations for women's basketball, leads Dean Solomon on a behind-the-scenes tour of JPJ. 

 

Dean Solomon coaches the women's basketball team.
In the locker room, Dean Solomon admires Willoughby's impressive sneaker collection. 

 

Dean Solomon coaches the women's basketball team.
Dean Solomon chats with freshman forward Meg Jefferson, freshman guard Carole Miller, freshman guard Dylan Horton, and freshman guard Kylie Kornegay-Lucas, who was later named the ACC Freshman of the Week after scoring 31 points in Sunday's game.

 

Dean Solomon coaches the women's basketball team.
Joining a pre-game tradition, the dean enjoys breakfast with the team and staff. 

 

Dean Solomon coaches the women's basketball team.
Willoughby and senior forward Lisa Jablonowski chat with the dean before warming up. 

 

Dean Solomon coaches the women's basketball team.
Willoughby provides a few pointers on the court. 

 

Dean Solomon coaches the women's basketball team.
Dean Solomon takes a shot before game time. 

 

Dean Solomon coaches the women's basketball team.
Willoughby and Jablonowski gift the dean with a team-signed ball as a token of appreciation. 

 

Dean Solomon coaches the women's basketball team.
Academic Coordinator Katherine Lawrence and Dean Solomon discuss the Guest Coach program before the game begins. 

 

Dean Solomon coaches the women's basketball team.
Guest coaches experience the game as part of the team, seated directly behind the the coaches and players. 

 

Dean Solomon coaches the women's basketball team.
Dean Solomon listens to Coach Tina Thompson during a timeout huddle.