Wahoo Fans Celebrate Past, Present and Future of UVA Women’s Sports

February 19, 2024 By Traci Hale, vmv7mc@virginia.edu Traci Hale, vmv7mc@virginia.edu

Sunday was a day to celebrate a University of Virginia legend and the future of sports as Wahoo fans of all ages came together at John Paul Jones Arena. The Cavaliers were hosting Syracuse University, but for many in attendance the event was more than another game on the schedule.

At 12:30 p.m., doors opened and excited ticketholders 12 and under filled the concourse to participate in the annual National Girls and Women in Sports Day activities, a collaboration between UVA Athletics and UVA’s Maxine Platzer Lynn Women’s Center. 



The lobby came alive with young sports fans racing from one section to the next, throwing, catching, rowing and playing with the big “kids” from UVA sports teams. The University has been participating in the national celebration of female athletes and their achievements since 1996.

And there were plenty of achievements to be celebrated as the day continued.

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Just prior to the 2 p.m. tipoff, UVA women’s basketball head coach Amaka "Mox" Agugua-Hamilton was recognized for her 100th career victory as a college head coach. Agugua-Hamilton and her Hoos notched the landmark win on Feb. 8, a 73-66 victory over Boston College. 

A powerful trio of women in the UVA athletics team gather together for a photo
UVA Deputy Athletic Director Armani Dawkins, left, and Director of Athletics Carla Williams, right, joined women’s basketball head coach Amaka Agugua-Hamilton prior to tipoff to celebrate Coach Mox’s 100th win as a head coach.

Then at halftime, a UVA legend took the court again as seven-time ACC Coach of the Year Debbie Ryan was honored as part of the day’s activities. Ryan led the Cavaliers for 34 seasons, from 1977 to 2011, taking the Hoos to the NCAA Tournament 24 times, including three consecutive Final Four appearances from 1990 to 1992. Ryan was enshrined in the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame and the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame in 2012.

Debbie Ryan holds her hands in the shape of a heart to the crowd
As part of the National Girls and Women in Sports Day activities, legendary former UVA women’s basketball coach Debbie Ryan was honored at halftime.

The halftime celebration of Ryan included a video tribute from former players and staff members – including University of South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley, University of Connecticut head coach Geno Auriemma and Big East Conference Commissioner Valerie Ackerman – sharing how the former Naismith Coach of the Year impacted their lives and women’s sports. 

Here are more photos from the day’s activities. 

A kid holds a golf club
A women's lacrosse member works with a student
A group of kids hit a volleyball
A little boy dressed as Cavman cradles a lacrosse stick
A basketball with signatures all over it

Media Contact

Traci Hale

Senior Editor University Communications