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BRM
03-31-2009, 09:05 AM
Virginia hires Wazzu's Bennett as Leitao's replacement

RICHMOND, Va. -- Washington State coach Tony Bennett, who led the Cougars into the postseason in each of his three years at the school, has been hired to revive a Virginia basketball program that just posted its worst record in more than 40 years as earlier reported by Senior Writer Gary Parrish of CBSSports.com on Monday.

Jim Sterk, the athletic director at Washington State, announced the move Monday evening. Bennett replaces Dave Leitao, who resigned after four seasons.

Bennett, 39, posted a 68-30 record in three seasons with the Cougars. His first two teams made the NCAA tournament and posted back-to-back 26-win seasons, but this year's squad was eliminated in the first round of the NIT. He was the AP college basketball Coach of the Year in 2007.

Leitao resigned after the Cavaliers finished 10-18 this season, their poorest showing since they went 9-17 in 1967-68. Leitao was 63-60 in four years.

Bennett succeeded his father, Dick Bennett, after serving as his assistant at Washington State for three seasons.

"Dick and Tony Bennett have elevated the men's basketball program at Washington State to an unprecedented level of success," Sterk said. "We will begin a national search for a coach immediately with the goal of finding someone with the integrity, experience, and values that Dick and Tony brought to the program."

Sterk said Virginia asked for permission to speak with Bennett last Friday. Monday afternoon, Bennett told Sterk and Washington State President Elson S. Floyd of his decision to accept the position at Virginia, then met with his players on the Pullman campus.

"I was so shocked," freshman guard Klay Thompson told the Spokesman-Review in Spokane, Wash. "I'm disappointed, I'm really disappointed. Shoot, I don't know. But it's life. I'll adjust."

Bennett did not return telephone messages left at his home on Monday.

Virginia officials planned an official announcement for Wednesday.

The news of Bennett's hiring was not warmly received on an Internet message board for Cavaliers fans, where the possible job candidates mentioned over the last several days included Tubby Smith of Minnesota, Jeff Capel of Oklahoma and Rick Barnes of Texas. Many fans posting on the board were dismayed by the selection of a lower-profile coach.

Bennett's first Washington State team lost to Vanderbilt in double overtime in the second round of the NCAA tournament. The next season, the Cougars advanced to the Sweet 16 before losing to a team Bennett will face regularly in the Atlantic Coast Conference -- North Carolina.


http://www.cbssports.com/collegebasketball/story/11569890

cumberlandreds
03-31-2009, 09:48 AM
UVA is probbaly the toughest place to win in the ACC. Bennett has his work cut out for him there.

Playadlc
03-31-2009, 09:00 PM
UVA is probbaly the toughest place to win in the ACC. Bennett has his work cut out for him there.

I agree. I don't understand this move at all.

He probably could have held out and got a better gig, although, his stock was probably at it's highest at the end of last season.

redsfanmia
03-31-2009, 09:32 PM
I agree. I don't understand this move at all.

He probably could have held out and got a better gig, although, his stock was probably at it's highest at the end of last season.

I thought I heard he turned down the IU job last year.

Playadlc
03-31-2009, 10:34 PM
I thought I heard he turned down the IU job last year.

I am not sure how that played out, to be honest. I am pretty sure that he never got an offer from Indiana, but I don't know what kind of interest he had in the job.

I really wouldn't be surprised if he wasn't interested, though, Indiana did fire his sister from the girls job.

Hoosier Red
04-01-2009, 02:53 PM
I thought she quit. She had the terrible car accident, and then they made the NCAA tournament, and then like a year later, I thought she quit.

Maybe I'm misremembering.

BRM
04-01-2009, 03:20 PM
I remember this coming up when Bennett's name surfaced as a candidate for the IU job. I do remember reading that Bennett may not be happy with the way IU treated his sister but I can't remember the details.

WMR
04-01-2009, 04:20 PM
Tony Bennett sure likes a good challenge. :D

Not going to go so far as to call it a no win situation but it's close.

dabvu2498
04-01-2009, 04:27 PM
It wasn't long ago that the same things were said about the Wazzu job.

15fan
04-01-2009, 04:38 PM
UVA is probbaly the toughest place to win in the ACC. Bennett has his work cut out for him there.

It shouldn't be, though.

* Great public university with big-time resources.
* Brand new arena that by most accounts is a tremendous facility.
* Close proximity to some pretty fertile recruiting grounds of metro-DC.
* Plenty of publicity due to conference affiliation.

Duke & Carolina are probably going to continue their stays at the top of the conference for a while. The trick is being able to consistently position yourself as the #3-#5 team in the league for a while. That's good enough to keep you inside the top 25, on TV regularly, into the conference tournament semis and the NCAA tourney. Maryland pulled that off for a while with the Steve Blake / Juan Dixon era (when they also notched a national title). Otherwise, that #3-#5 pecking order has been pretty fluid. No reason that Virginia can't get to that point.

Not sure that Bennett is the right guy to get them there, but that's a whole other discussion.

Revering4Blue
04-01-2009, 09:35 PM
The news of Bennett's hiring was not warmly received on an Internet message board for Cavaliers fans, where the possible job candidates mentioned over the last several days included Tubby Smith of Minnesota, Jeff Capel of Oklahoma and Rick Barnes of Texas. Many fans posting on the board were dismayed by the selection of a lower-profile coach.

In my best Mr. Rogers voice:

Can you say delusional?

I knew you could.

Kind of reminds me of NC State fans believing that they could do better than Herb Sendek. How'd that work out?



UVA is probbaly the toughest place to win in the ACC.

Nah.

Virginia Tech is. Seth Greenberg has done a fine job despite being out-manned most nights.


BTW, 15 fan's analysis is spot on.

Boss-Hog
04-01-2009, 11:46 PM
In my best Mr. Rogers voice:

Can you say delusional?

I knew you could.

Kind of reminds me of NC State fans believing that they could do better than Herb Sendek. How'd that work out?



Nah.

Virginia Tech is. Seth Greenberg has done a fine job despite being out-manned most nights.


BTW, 15 fan's analysis is spot on.
Good point on Virginia Tech...Clemson certainly isn't traditionally known for their basketball program, either.

WVRed
04-02-2009, 12:06 AM
It shouldn't be, though.

* Great public university with big-time resources.
* Brand new arena that by most accounts is a tremendous facility.
* Close proximity to some pretty fertile recruiting grounds of metro-DC.
* Plenty of publicity due to conference affiliation.

Duke & Carolina are probably going to continue their stays at the top of the conference for a while. The trick is being able to consistently position yourself as the #3-#5 team in the league for a while. That's good enough to keep you inside the top 25, on TV regularly, into the conference tournament semis and the NCAA tourney. Maryland pulled that off for a while with the Steve Blake / Juan Dixon era (when they also notched a national title). Otherwise, that #3-#5 pecking order has been pretty fluid. No reason that Virginia can't get to that point.

Not sure that Bennett is the right guy to get them there, but that's a whole other discussion.

I agree. It is possible to win in Charlottesville, but you have to hone in your recruiting to the DC market.

cumberlandreds
04-02-2009, 08:01 AM
I agree. It is possible to win in Charlottesville, but you have to hone in your recruiting to the DC market.

Yes it is. Ralph Sampson proved that. Also UVA went to the Final Four the year after Sampson left. At one time UVA had a little pipeline in Kentucky. Jeff Lamp,Lee Raker and Jeff Jones were all from Kentucky and did well at UVA. It would take a dynamite recruiter to get UVA in that upper echelon of the ACC.