Washington State's Tony Bennett to Virginia - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Washington State's Tony Bennett to Virginia

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Photo: The Spokesman-Review Photo: The Spokesman-Review
Photo: The Spokesman-Review Photo: The Spokesman-Review

PULLMAN, Wash. - Washington State University men's basketball coach Tony Bennett surprised his players, his assistant coaches and the school administration Monday by accepting an offer to become the head coach at the University of Virginia.

Bennett told returning players and coaches about his plans at a 2 p.m. meeting in Beasley Coliseum.

"I was so shocked," said freshman guard Klay Thompson of Bennett's announcement.

A source close to the situation told The Spokesman-Review the offer came up over the weekend and though the decision was a tough one, Bennett decided this was the right move for his family and future. Read the rest at Spokesman-Review.

Experts Praise Bennett, UVa AD On Hire

The reaction to Bennett's hiring by University of Virginia supporters has been mixed but according to the Charlottesvilla, VA Daily Progress experts are giving Bennett high marks and praising UVa for the hire. Daily Progress sports writer Jerry Ratcliffe commenting on the hire in today's paper says, "He's got the pedigree of what great coaches are made of. He's a coach's son. He's a former point guard, and a gritty one. He played in the NBA. He's paid his dues. He's overachieved in a place that has no real basketball tradition and won against the odds."

On top of that none other than famed ESPN college basketball insider Dick Vitale weighed in on the move saying of Bennett, "I think ultimately, Virginia fans are going to really be happy with Bennett...He's a class young man, a man of integrity, a guy who will represent UVa in a class way."

Recruits at WSU & UVa React

Bennett's hiring at Virginia could impact at least one big recruit at both schools. According to the Daily Progress the future of three-star WSU recruit David Chadwick from Charlotte, N.C. is now up in the air. In today's paper recruiting guru Bob Gibbons of All-Star Sports said he wouldn't be shocked to see Chadwick, who played for Charlotte Latin, attempt to be released from his letter of intent and follow Bennett to Virginia.

The hire could also mean a change for UVa recruit Tristan Spurlock. The 6'8" four-star recruit considered several other schools including Georgetown before settling on Virginia but says that he's yet to make a decision on his future with the Cavaliers.


Sterk Comments On Tony Bennett Coaching Situation

Meanwhile, Washington State University Director of Athletics Jim Sterk confirmed that men's basketball coach Tony Bennett has accepted the head coaching position at the University of Virginia.

"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 that Virginia asked for permission to speak with Bennett last Friday. Monday afternoon Bennett informed Sterk and WSU President Elson S. Floyd of his decision to accept the position at Virginia. Following those conversations, Bennett informed his players of his decision.

More information from

www.spokesman.com

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