Who Would You Put on the Mount Rushmore of UVA Sports? We Asked ChatGPT

June 6, 2023 By Andrew Ramspacher, fpa5up@virginia.edu Andrew Ramspacher, fpa5up@virginia.edu

Each year, as the sports calendar hits a lull and help is needed to pass the time, an annual debate arises from the variety of outlets that cover athletics: Who would you put on the Mount Rushmore of (enter team name here)?

The question encourages engagement from fans and can spark controversy, as opinions vary when narrowing the list down to only four icons.

That’s especially true with the University of Virginia and its long and storied sports history. In 2022-23, UVA, thanks to women’s swimming and diving in March and men’s tennis in May, has added national team championships Nos. 32 and 33 in school history. Among Atlantic Coast Conferences schools, only the University of North Carolina has more national titles.

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That number could grow with the UVA baseball team, which is two wins away from a trip to the College World Series. Beginning Friday at Disharoon Park, the Cavaliers host Duke University in a best-of-three NCAA super regional series.

With all that winning comes a star-studded list of athletes and coaches, most having great cases to appear on any “Mount Rushmore of UVA Sports.”

But instead of trying the near-impossible task of whittling that list to four names, UVA Today decided to ask ChatGPT, the artificial intelligence-powered chatbot application that can mimic human efforts by scanning information online and produce seemingly original content, to do it for us.

When we asked the bot who it would put on a mythical “Mount Rushmore of UVA Sports,” it provided a disclaimer before delivering the goods.

“Determining the Mount Rushmore of UVA sports is subjective and can vary based on personal opinions,” ChatGPT wrote. “However, considering the achievements and impact of individuals in the history of the University of Virginia’s sports program, the following four figures could be considered for the Mount Rushmore of UVA sports ...”

The following is ChatGPT’s list, complete with the ranking and reason it gave for each figure:

Action shot of Ralph Sampson

When Ralph Sampson was on Grounds, the UVA men’s basketball team played in many marquee games, such as this 1982 matchup with Georgetown University and its own star center, Patrick Ewing. (Photo by Dan Grogan)

1. Ralph Sampson

“Ralph Sampson is regarded as one of the greatest college basketball players of all time. He played for UVA from 1979 to 1983 and was a dominant force in the game. Sampson won three Naismith College Player of the Year awards and led UVA to its first Final Four appearance in 1981. His impact on the basketball program and the sport as a whole makes him a strong candidate.”

Action shot of Dawn Staley

Few women’s college basketball players dominated the game like UVA’s Dawn Staley did in the early 1990s. (UVA Athletics photo)

2. Dawn Staley

“Dawn Staley is a renowned basketball player and coach. She played for UVA from 1989 to 1992 and was a three-time Kodak All-American. Staley led the team to three Final Four appearances and won the Honda Sports Award for basketball in 1991 and 1992. Her contributions to UVA women’s basketball and her successful coaching career make her a significant figure in UVA sports history.”

Candid portrait of Terry Holland

Long before Tony Bennett came along, Terry Holland established himself as the iconic coach on the UVA men’s basketball sideline. (UVA Athletics photo)

3. Terry Holland

“Terry Holland served as the head coach for UVA men’s basketball from 1974 to 1990. Under his leadership, UVA achieved great success, including multiple ACC championships and the aforementioned Final Four appearance in 1981. Holland’s impact on the program and his ability to consistently field competitive teams make him a strong candidate for the Mount Rushmore of UVA sports.”

Action shot of Angela Hucles

Whether on Grounds or the international stage, Angela Hucles represented UVA in an exemplary fashion. (UVA Athletics photo)

4. Angela Hucles

“Angela Hucles is a former UVA soccer player who had a remarkable career. She played for UVA from 1996 to 1999 and was a two-time All-American. Hucles went on to represent the United States in international soccer competitions, winning two Olympic gold medals and playing in multiple World Cups. Her achievements both at UVA and on the international stage make her a notable figure in UVA sports history.”

While ChatGPT clearly favors the great basketball history on Grounds, do you think the bot got it right with this list? Let us know by participating in our poll.

The poll is now closed. Thank you to everyone that participated. Check out the results to see who the UVA Today readers put on the top of the list.

Media Contact

Andrew Ramspacher

University News Associate University Communications