Coach Tony Bennett Matt Riley

On getting over the UMBC loss:

“We’ve all taken it head-on. I’d rather have trembling courage over trembling cowardice.”

—as reported by Josh Feinstein in The Washington Post on Dec. 9, 2018

“So, that’s life. We talk about it all the time. The adulation, the praise—it comes. And we got a lot of that this year. Then on the other side, there will be blame and people pointing that out. That can’t, in the end, you know, define these guys and our team or us. … My job now will be to say, ‘Hey, how do we bounce back?’ … But a life lesson is sitting there about defining yourself by maybe not what the world says, but there’s other things that matter and then you get back to it. ... It certainly stings. … Ask me that maybe next year or another time.”

—March 16, 2018, news conference after the UMBC loss

On inspiration:

“It kind of sparked something in me. I desperately want Virginia and this team that I coach to have a chance to one day play for a national championship, to win a national championship. … That has inspired me in a way maybe only a loss like that can. … But it did something else that I think’s as important, or more important: It made me realize if that doesn’t happen, I’m still OK. That’s almost freed me up to go after my coaching this season and with this team in a better way and the right way.”

—Oct. 24, 2018, at ACC media day, which was in the same arena where UVA lost to UMBC

On destiny:

“I believe our steps are ordered. I think you walk and you do everything you can with the abilities you’ve been given as players, as coaches, and then you trust. … So the fact that we’re here, yeah, I think there’s been a hand in this. In my life, I’d be foolish not to believe that.”

—April 7, the day before the national championship game

On hearing about UMBC all year:

“In a way, it’s a painful gift. It did draw us nearer to each other as a team.”

—April 7, the day before the NCAA final

On values:

“They asked [my father 19 years ago]: ‘Is this one of the greatest feelings that you’ve ever had, getting to the Final Four?’ He said this: ‘From a feeling state, euphoria, yes, it is. But it doesn’t compare with faith, with kids, family, grandkids.’ He said, ‘Because I know what truly matters, it enables me to enjoy what seems to matter, like this.’ I’ve remembered that quote and tried my best to live by it. I want this program to honor what’s important to me, my faith and these young men through success and through failure.”

—After beating Purdue, March 30

On his father:

“What my dad did for me—he took Wisconsin to the Final Four, he retired, and then he decided to come out of retirement. We went to Washington State, and I was his assistant or associate head coach, and he took the bullets for three years. It was hard. He lost. He had been at the top, and he did it, and he said, ‘I can’t go any more, but I think you have a chance. I don’t know if you can turn it around.’ Talk about a father’s love for his son in that regard. He basically, at the end of his career, said, ‘I’m going to try to help you rebuild it. Here you go, son. You’ve got a chance.’ I wouldn’t be here without that.”

—April 6, after UVA defeated Auburn to reach the national title game

On faith:

“There’s a verse that says always be prepared to give a reason for the hope that you have, but do it with gentleness and respect. I think that’s what you have to do. I know what my hope is for me. I know what my life is grounded on. There’s nothing that touches it. It’s a joy that’s unspeakable. … I know what matters in my life and my family’s, and I try to be faithful to that and respect everyone else.”

—April 5, the day before UVA played Auburn

On unity:

“I told them before the Auburn game: Just bring your two fish and your five loaves—that’s a story in the Bible. I said, ‘It will be enough. It will be enough for the masses. When you guys play the right way, the collectiveness of it takes over.’”

—April 8, after UVA won the national championship

On his formula:

“So our formula has always been... How can you build a program that can compete against the best in your conference? And it was get guys experienced, get them to where they have two or three years where they learn and maybe learn the hard way, and then when they’re upperclassmen, they’re ready to play against the best. And that’s kind of what we stuck to at Virginia. I think that fits Virginia.”

—April 4, the day after the Cavaliers arrived in Minneapolis

One Shining Moment:

“I told our guys in the locker room, I said, ‘Put your arms around each other, take a look at every guy in here, look at each other. Promise me you will remain humble and thankful for this. Don’t let this change you. It doesn’t have to. We’ll have memories.’ … It’s a great story.”

—April 8, the closing remark of his news conference after defeating Texas Tech