The Virginia Cavaliers have done their best to ensure that Tony Bennett remains their basketball coach for a long time.
After winning both the ACC regular season and tournament titles, Bennett agreed to a seven-year extension with the school that will last through the 2020-21 season, according to the school's official site. Athletic director Craig Littlepage announced the deal and explained:
We are pleased with Coach Bennett's commitment to the University of Virginia. Tony believes in the goals of the athletics department and the mission of the University. The vision he had for our program when he accepted the head coaching position is developing according to his plan. It will be exciting to watch the development of our players and the program in the coming years.
David Teel of the Daily Press notes that the pay raise that comes with it is relatively small for his position:
This was apparently by design in an effort to provide more money to his assistants, according to The Washington Post's Cavs Journal:
I'm told Tony Bennett asked for less money in order to obtain raises for existing staff members and upgrade the program with new positions.— Cavs Journal (@CavsJournal) June 3, 2014
Mark Giannotto of The Washington Post reported earlier in the week that assistants Ritchie McKay, Jason Williford and Ron Sanchez all received raises from the school.
These new deals are all deserved after one of the best seasons in school history. The Cavaliers finished with a 30-7 record that included a 16-2 mark in the ACC to bring home a regular-season championship. After earning the conference tournament title with a victory over Duke in the finals, the squad was given a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament and reached the Sweet 16.
While there were talented players on the roster, the strength of the team was the defense, which ranked No. 1 in the nation with just 55.7 points allowed per game. This is an area Bennett works hard to keep up, and the squad will likely remain among the best in the nation in future seasons.
Virginia will lose key contributors in Akil Mitchell and Joe Harris, but the majority of its roster will return to pair with a talented group of recruits.
With the way Bennett has improved the program since being roughly a .500 team just a few years ago, college basketball fans should expect a lot more success in the future.
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