We Asked for Your Picks for a UVA Sports Mount Rushmore. Here Are the Results

June 30, 2023
A graphic recreation of Mount Rushmore with the selected poll athletes

The Mount Rushmore of UVA sports, according to UVA Today readers: from left to right, Ralph Sampson, Kate Douglass, Dawn Staley and Tony Bennett. (Photo illustration by Alexandra Angelich, University Communications)

In early June, UVA Today relied on ChatGPT, the artificial intelligence-powered chatbot, to complete a task that we deemed near impossible: Come up with four names to put on the Mount Rushmore of University of Virginia sports.

While the bot did a sound job of listing a quartet of Wahoo icons – men’s basketball coach Terry Holland, women’s soccer player Angela Hucles, men’s basketball player Ralph Sampson and women’s basketball player Dawn Staley – we wanted to take our experiment a bit further and ask you, the readers, for your picks.

At the end of our June 6 story, we provided a survey of more than 20 Cavalier legends – both student-athletes and coaches – across all sports and asked you to select four for your blue-and-orange-clad Mount Rushmore.

The results are in and, as it turns out, ChatGPT and the UVA Today readers think somewhat alike.

After more than 3,750 votes, the Mount Rushmore of UVA sports, according to our readers, is Sampson, Staley, men’s basketball coach Tony Bennett and women’s swimmer Kate Douglass.

Sampson, a three-time national player of the year in the early 1980s, received the most votes with 685.

Bennett, the current coach of the Hoos who passed Holland last season as the winningest coach in program history, was next with 558 votes.

Staley, a three-time All-American in the early 1990s, was third with 499 votes.

Douglass, who amassed a combined 15 individual and relay NCAA championships in a storied UVA career that ended in March, was fourth with 269 votes.

Baseball player Ryan Zimmerman (234 votes) finished fifth followed by football coach George Welsh (218) and Holland (196).

Our survey also allowed for readers to submit names that didn’t appear on the list. More than 90 submissions were entered with baseball coach Brian O’Connor (14 votes), men’s basketball player Barry Parkhill (12) and football player Ronde Barber (eight) appearing most.

Survey Results: Greatest UVA Athletes or Coaches of All-Time

Data from a June 6 UVA Today survey that asked readers to vote for a “Mount Rushmore of UVA Sports.” Men’s basketball star Ralph Sampson led the way with 685 votes. (Graphic by Jonelle Kinback, University Communications)

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