The University of Virginia Head Basketball coach Tony Bennett turned down a raise after winning the National Championship in April. Earlier this month, the team announced that while declining his offer, he extended his contract by one year but left the money on the table.
Coming off the big title win this past spring, one would think that Bennett both deserves the raise and would want it, but he had a different approach to the situation. Bennett mentioned that he would like to better the other athletic programs instead and specifically asked management to pay his coaching staff more.
“Laurel and I are in a great spot, and in the past, I’ve had increases in my contract,” is what Bennett described to the press, according to NBCNews.com. “We just feel great about where we’re at, all that’s taken place, and how we feel about this athletic department and this community and this school… I love being at UVA.”
The coach that is headed on a “program that lasts,” Coach Bennett is really all about the athletes, the community in which he is involved in, and the success of the people that surround him daily. Bennett has coached the Cavaliers since 2009, according to NBCNews.com, and his contract was just extended all the way up into the 2025-26 season.
One thing that shows that the game means more than just money is what Bennett posed toward the university. Bennett pledged five hundred thousand dollars towards a player-development program to ensure that both former and current players develop into more than just a basketball player after leaving the university.
“Tony’s decision to turn down a well-deserved raise and instead invest in his players and UVA athletics more broadly tells you everything you need to know about him as a leader and as a human being,” Jim Ryan mentioned, the University President.
Bennett went on to close by saying, “I have more than enough, and if there are any ways that this can help out the athletic department, the other programs and coaches, by not tying up so much, that’s my goal.”
With Bennett losing three players to the NBA this past season, the three time National Coach of the Year kicks off the season early November and it will be interesting to see how Bennett and his players come out after last season’s championship heroics.