Saturday, Feb. 7, 2009 was a big day for the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point basketball family.
The Pointers honored two former coaches, Dick and Jack Bennett, by naming the UWSP home floor in the Quandt Fieldhouse "Bennett Court."
The Bennett brothers had tremendous success while at the Division III college in Central Wisconsin. Dick started his career at UWSP in 1976, and Jack ended his there in 2005 after winning back-to-back National Championships.
Dick's career as a Pointer stretched from 1976-85, in which he won 173 games and coached former NBA player and now Phoenix Suns head coach Terry Porter. Saint Louis University head coach Brad Soderberg also played under the elder Bennett.
Dick then moved east in the state to take on a struggling UW-Green Bay Phoenix team. He spent 10 years there, and eventually his son Tony became the star player.
One year after Tony's graduation, the 1993-94 12th-seeded Phoenix beat fifth-seeded California, who had Jason Kidd and Lamond Murray on the Bears roster.
In 1995, Dick took over for Stan Van Gundy to lead the Wisconsin Badgers. In five seasons with the Badgers, Bennett had a 94-68 mark and led the 1999-2000 team to a Final Four birth.
Prior to that season, the Badgers had appeared in just three NCAA Tournaments in the previous 97 years. Dick resigned just three games into the 2000-01 season, claiming he was "just simply drained."
Dick made a comeback for three seasons (2003-06) as head coach of the Washington State Cougars. After his retirement, his son Tony took over the helm.
Where Dick Bennett started his coaching career, his younger brother Jack, ended his.
Jack spent a total of 34 years coaching various high schools in Wisconsin, and then landed the head job for the Pointers in 1996.
In his nine seasons at UWSP, Jack became the all-time winningest coach in school history, amassing a 200-56 overall record.
He led the Pointers to five consecutive Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) championships and appeared in five NCAA Div. III tournaments.
In his final two seasons at UWSP, Jack led the Pointers to back-to-back National Championships.
Jack also had his son, Nick, as one of the leaders of those two teams. Nick Bennett was second in team scoring both of those seasons.
Jack retired after his repeat title with a career coaching record of 480-175.
Together, the Bennett brothers accounted for 373 wins in their 18 combined seasons at Stevens Point.
As a UWSP alum (class of 2007), and now a Pointer fan for life, I would like to congratulate both Jack and Dick Bennett for all of their accomplishments with UWSP basketball.
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