New Documentary Catches Magic of UVA Title Run … If You Can Find It

A much-anticipated documentary on the UVA men’s basketball team will air on the ACC Network in the fall.

If you’re a University of Virginia basketball fan, it’s impossible to watch the trailer too many times.

“Unbelievable: Virginia’s Improbable Path to a Title” is the title of an upcoming documentary that will air on the new ACC Network sometime after its Aug. 22 launch.

But with several major cable systems still not offering the channel, there’s a chance some Wahoo fans won’t get to see it.

“Comcast has not agreed to carry the ACC Network, nor have Cox or Dish Network,” UVA Director of Athletics Carla Williams wrote in an open letter to fans Thursday. “If you are a Comcast, Cox or Dish Network subscriber, I urge you to contact your provider by email, phone or through social media and demand ACCN.”

The trailer for the documentary, which was released last week, begins with emotional piano music leading into a shot of the NCAA championship trophy.

Then UVA Coach Tony Bennett pops onto the screen.

Bennett explains an old adage from his father about first needing to recruit players whom you can lose with before you can win.

That’s when the video cuts to a shot of former Cavalier star Kyle Guy crying into his jersey as he is being consoled by teammate De’Andre Hunter after the team’s NCAA Tournament first-round loss to University of Maryland, Baltimore County in 2018.

“It did something powerful,” says Bennett, recalling the shocking upset to the No. 16 seed.

The video flashes forward to forward Mamadi Diakite’s buzzer-beating shot in the Elite Eight win over Purdue.

All of the play’s participants explain how the sequence unfolded from their individual perspectives.

The trailer for the hourlong piece concludes with confetti falling onto the players after the win over Texas Tech in the finals.

“When that buzzer went off, my mind went blank,” guard Ty Jerome says. “I was completely at peace.”

Ditto for Wahoo fans of all ages around the world.

Stacie McCollum, ESPN’s senior director of programming and acquisitions, said the decision to make a documentary on the Hoos was a no-brainer.

“Coach Bennett and his team did what many thought was unthinkable – rebounding from a devastating loss to capturing a series of dramatic tournament wins on the game’s biggest stage,” McCollum said. “We are delighted to tell this inspiring story on ACCN, and are thankful for Virginia’s generosity in letting us do so.”

Along with firsthand accounts from Bennett and key players, “Unbelievable” will also feature Hoos legend Ralph Sampson.

The documentary was produced by two-time Emmy award winner David Pierpont, who has produced numerous features for ESPN’s shows, including “SportsCenter,” “NFL Countdown,” “College Gameday” and “NBA Countdown.”

Pierpont was most recently Emmy-nominated for a feature on Paradise High School’s football team, showing what the players and coaches went through after the Camp Fire destroyed Paradise, California. 

The release of “Unbelievable” doesn’t preclude ESPN from doing a “30 for 30” (its acclaimed documentary film) on UVA’s basketball team sometime in the future, according to an ESPN spokesperson.

The ACC Network – a cable and satellite channel owned by ESPN and dedicated to 24-hour coverage of the ACC – will air approximately 450 live events this year, including 40 regular-season football games, 150 men’s and women’s basketball games, and 200 other regular-season competitions and tournament games from across the conference’s 27 sponsored sports.

It will also feature news and information shows and original programming, such as the UVA hoops documentary.

The UVA football team’s first three games of the season – at Pittsburgh on Aug. 31; vs. William & Mary on Sept. 6; and vs. Florida State on Sept. 14 – will be carried exclusively on the channel.

This is something Williams wants to make absolutely sure fans are aware of.

“If you are a Comcast, Cox or Dish Network subscriber, you will NOT be able to watch the games unless an agreement is reached,” Williams wrote in her open letter.

As of now, the channel will be offered on Charter/Spectrum, DIRECTV, YouTubeTV, Hulu Live TV, Layer3 TV, Optimum, PlayStation Vue, Suddenlink, Verizon Fios, as well as some local cable companies that are members of the NCTC and Vivicast Media and more. DirecTV, YouTubeTV, Hulu Live TV and PlayStation Vue are all available nationally.

Find the latest lists online. If you don’t see your provider listed, you can contact your provider and make a request that they carry it.

Customers receiving the channel from their pay TV provider will also have access to it on computers, tablets, mobile phones and TV connected devices via the ESPN app.

Media Contact

Whitelaw Reid

University News Senior Associate Office of University Communications