The word at Virginia now is that Athletic Director Gene Corrigan is just about on his way to Notre Dame to replace the retiring Moose Krause as athletic director there.
Corrigan has visited the campus twice and was reportedly torn between his loyalty to Virginia and his interest in Notre Dame. But scores at Virginia seem to think Corrigan will not be able to resist the lure of Notre Dame. Corrigan is a devout Catholic and the Notre Dame post is considered the most prestigious job for most Catholics involved in athletics.
"I don't know what Gene's going to do," Virginia Coach Dick Bestwick said. "But I think it might be hard for him to turn down a shot at Notre Dame."
If Corrigan does leave, the two leading candidates to replace him would probably be Jim West, associate athletic director, and Bestwick. Yesterday, Bestwick wouldn't talk about becoming athletic director, although he is held in such high esteem by most connected with UVA that no one would be surprised if he were offered the job.
Yesterday, Bestwick's mind was still on his team's 27-24 loss to Clemson, a game the Cavaliers led, 24-10, only to lose the 20th consecutive loss for the school to the Tigers.
"When we went up, 24-10, we were in control of the game," Bestwick said. "Then we let them complete a long pass that probably should have been intercepted and they went 88 yards on us in six plays. That let them back in when we should have been ready to shut the door."
In the last two years, Bestwick's teams have been a play or two away from beating teams like Clemson that used to consistently stomp Virginia. Just being consistently competitive is proof of how far the program has come.
But that was hardly comforting to Bestwick yesterday. "It's the worst defeat I've ever had to deal with," he said. "Our kids are just torn up about it. There's no moral victory here. We should have won the game."
To add injury to insult, the Cavaliers came out of the game hobbling at several positions, most notably up front,-where all-America candidate Stuart Anderson came out in the third quarter with a sprained ankle. Anderson was on crutches yesterday and is questionable right now for UVA'S meeting with arch rival Virginia Tech Saturday.
Speaking of Tech, that 4-1 record is not as impressive as it might seem. Three of the victories were over East Tennessee State, James Madison and Rhode Island. Athletic Director-Coach Bill Dooley has taken the sneak-into-a-bowl-by-playing-patsies approach. VPI'S only loss thus far was 13-10 at Clemson. Saturday will provide a legitimate test for Dooley's team.