March 30, 2007
PULLMAN, Wash. - Washington State University Men's Basketball Head Coach Tony Bennett was named recipient of the Associated Press men's college basketball coach of the year and the Jim Phelan Award, Friday.
Bennett received 40 votes from the 72-member national media panel to garner the AP award. He is the second coach to receive the honor in his first season, joining Bill Hodges of Indiana State in 1979.
In the voting for the Jim Phelan Award, presented by Collegeinsider.com to the national coach of the year, the Cougar mentor earned six of 20 first place votes from the committee comprised of university and conference administrators, men's basketball head coaches, and media members. Bennett earned 60 points, far outdistancing the 31 Butler's Todd Lickliter.
In additions to the two honors announced, Friday, Bennett has been named national coach of the year by the United States Basketball Writers Association (USBWA Henry Iba Award), The Sporting News, Basketball Times and Rivals.com. In addition, he was the recipient of the National Association of Basketball Coaches District 14, USBWA District 9, Pacific-10 Conference and Collegeinsider.com Pacific-10 coach of the year honors. He is a finalist for The Naismith Award, and The Clair Bee Award (Chip Hilton Sports and Naismith Hall of Fame national coach of the year).
Bennett led the Cougars to 26 wins this season, tying WSU's 1941 national runner-up squad for the most in school history. The Cougars made their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 1994 and posted their first NCAA Tournament win in 24 years with a first round defeat of Oral Roberts, March 15 in Sacramento, Calif.