Tony Bennett’s Big Payday

SPOKANE — Now former Head Coug Tony Bennett has landed a fairly sizable raise by taking over as coach for the UVA Cavaliers with an offer worth nearly $10 Million over the next five years.

Bennett’s agreement with the University of Virginia is a five-year deal that is worth $1.7 Million a year for five years and includes a $500,000 signing bonus as well as a $500,000 incentive bonus if he stays at UVA for five years. The total package is worth $9.5 Million.

In comparison Bennett’s contract with WSU, renegotiated last May, guaranteed him $1 Million a year and carried him through 2015.

The details of Bennett’s deal was released Tuesday morning in a statement from UVA Athletic Director Craig Littlepage when he formally announced Bennett’s hiring to run the faltering Cavalier Men’s Basketball program.

“Tony Bennett comes to the University of Virginia with a plan to build our program,” Littlepage said in the statement. “He is an outstanding basketball coach and is a perfect fit for UVa. He has all of the needed coaching and leadership skills along with an understanding of how to succeed in a highly competitive academic and basketball environment. He has demonstrated success in the Pacific-10 Conference. His teams have beaten the elite programs in that conference and he will bring the same type of success and energy to the University of Virginia.”

Bennett, who will be formally introduced to the UVA community on Wednesday (April Fools Day for those of you keeping track), has not made any public statements since his surprise decision to move across the country to take over the Cavalier program. In the statement released by UVA AD Littlepage Bennett did take the opportunity to express his gratitude to the Washington State University community.

“I’m coming from a place in Washington State University that was all about family. It was the people that made the place so special,” he said in the statement. “I will be forever grateful to WSU President Elson S. Floyd, Athletics Director Jim Sterk, and the young men I had the privilege of coaching while I was there, as well as the WSU fans.”

The press conference where Coach Bennett will be formally introduced at UVA takes place at 1 p.m. Wednesday.