When former Virginia point guard John Crotty joined the Orange Bowl committee in 2006, he wasn’t joining because he expected the Cavaliers’ football team to qualify for the prestigious bowl game.
With the recent uptick in on-field success, however, Crotty will welcome his alma mater to Miami for a New Year’s Six Bowl in a few weeks.
“As an alum, I always hoped and dreamed that it would happen,” Crotty said, “and finally after seven different teams in the Coastal winning it each of the last seven years, Virginia got their turn.”
Crotty, who played for the Wahoos from 1987-91, joined the committee because he lives in South Florida and works for the Miami Heat broadcast team, and he wanted to become involved with a group that makes a positive impact in the community.
“They just do so many great things in the community,” Crotty said. “The whole idea is to bring economic impact down to South Florida by having the big football game, but in the meantime we’re running a youth football league, impacting young kids ... we do so many other things.”
The committee plays a role in rebuilding local football fields and hosting numerous athletic events for kids in the area.
“I loved the fact that this was tangibly impacting the community that I lived in,” Crotty said.
Crotty remains entrenched in the Miami community. He’s been with the Heat broadcast team since the 2004-05 season. He lives in Coral Gables, which is about 20 minutes away from Miami.
While he certainly didn’t join the committee to see Virginia football play in the Orange Bowl, in the back of his mind, Crotty knew the possibility was there.
Given the on-field football performance in recent seasons, the 11-year NBA veteran wasn’t holding his breath about UVa making the game, but a special 2019 season has the Wahoos headed to South Florida.
It’s a special feeling for the former Cavalier.
Virginia has played a tremendous role in Crotty’s life. He played basketball at the school, and he also met his wife, Kara, on grounds.
Crotty has two daughters who followed in their parents’ footsteps and both attend UVa.
After the men’s basketball team captured the national championship last season, Kara showed Crotty a photo on The Daily Progress website of the celebration back in Charlottesville.
Crotty smiled as he saw the scene of students lining the Charlottesville streets.
A closer examination of the photo revealed that the focal point of the image — a college-aged girl crowd surfing — was his daughter.
More than 25 years after his collegiate playing career ended, Crotty’s daughter celebrated a Virginia national title at his alma mater.
Family ties bring Crotty back to Charlottesville every now and again, with most visits coming in the fall when he isn’t covering Miami Heat basketball games. Crotty remains busy covering the NBA and working with the Orange Bowl committee, but the former Virginia guard makes time to follow Tony Bennett’s team in addition to tracking Virginia football’s Orange Bowl chances.
“Coach Bennett’s a friend,” Crotty said. “So proud of what he’s been able to do with the team. He’s winning at the highest level possible, obviously winning championships and competing, and he’s doing it the right way. He’s developing young men. He’s putting out guys that are well rounded and classy, and it’s not easy to do what he’s doing. He does it, and he’s competitive every single year.
“I give him so much credit, and it’s fun seeing another old, left-handed NBA point guard running around from time to time.”