Virginia AD Craig Littlepage retiring after 16 years

Virginia athletic director Craig Littlepage announced his retirement Tuesday after 16 years of leading one of the most successful athletic departments in the ACC.

Littlepage, the third-longest-serving athletic director in the league, oversaw a program that won 13 NCAA championships under his leadership. Though the football team has struggled in recent years, programs like men's basketball, baseball, men's soccer, lacrosse, rowing and men's tennis have flourished. Virginia's 76 ACC championships since 2002 lead the conference.

"There is a sense of great pride in the accomplishments of our program since taking over as AD in 2001," Littlepage said in a statement. "When I reflect on the great coaches that have come here, the facilities, and talented student-athletes, I can move ahead knowing the athletics program has a great foundation."

There had been recent signs this day would soon come. Last fall, Littlepage stepped away for four months to deal with a family matter. He returned to the program in January.

When he was hired in 2001, Littlepage became the first African-American athletics director in ACC history. Still today, he remains one of a handful of minority athletic directors across the country.

Before becoming an administrator, Littlepage had two stints as an assistant coach for the Virginia basketball team, and also was head basketball coach at Penn (1982-85) and Rutgers (1985-88). His is the second announced departure from the Virginia athletic department over the past week. Executive assistant athletic director Jon Oliver recently announced his departure.

Littlepage will remain athletic director until a successor is hired.