Bennett named AP National Coach of the Year - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Bennett named AP National Coach of the Year

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ATLANTA, Georgia - After leading Washington State to its best season in 60 years, Tony Bennett has been selected The Associated Press' college basketball coach of the year.

The 37-year-old Bennett, who succeeded his father, Dick, this season at Washington State, is the second coach to win the award after his first season as a head coach, joining Bill Hodges of Indiana State in 1979.

The Cougars, who were picked ninth in the Pac-Ten preseason poll, finished 26-and-8, were second to UCLA in the conference and lost in the second round of the NCAA tournament. It was their first tourney appearance since 1994 and the fifth in school history.

Bennett received 40 votes from the 72-member national media panel that selects the weekly Top 25. Thad Matta of Ohio State and Billy Gillispie of Texas A&M each received ten votes, while Bo Ryan of Wisconsin got seven.

Bennett is the first Washington State coach to win the award, which was first presented in 1967.

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