March 28, 2007
PULLMAN, Wash. - Washington State University and Men's Basketball Head Coach Tony Bennett have agreed to restructure Bennett's contract, Cougar Director of Athletics Jim Sterk announced, Wednesday. The deal, when finalized, will run through the 2013-14 season.
"Tony has agreed in principle to a seven-year contract and enhancement, but we are still working out the structure, so it would be premature to release any numbers," Sterk said. "We have not worked out all the specifics, and will not do so until after the Final Four."
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 posted their first NCAA Tournament win in 24 years with a first round defeat of Oral Roberts, March 15 in Sacramento, Calif.
"I want this group of young men and this program to know we do not want to be a flash in the pan," Bennett said. "We worked hard for four years to get to where we are. I am so excited to be in Pullman. I love the character of the young men on our team."
This season, 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, The Clair Bee Award (Chip Hilton Sports and Naismith Hall of Fame national coach of the year) and The Jim Phelan Award (Collegeinsider.com national coach of the year).
"We are thrilled that we have one of the best coaches in college basketball at Washington State and are excited about the future," Sterk said. "When you talk about Tony and performance of our team this year, you must also give credit to his assistants, as well as the student-athletes who have committed themselves to excellence both on and off the court."
OTHER QUOTES "Tony Bennett exemplifies all that is best about college athletics. His passion, demeanor, and values are exactly what you would want for one who spends his time with students. It is a big bonus that he is a winner!" --WSU President V. Lane Rawlins
"I am delighted coach Bennett has elected to stay at Washington State University." --WSU Incoming President Elson S. Floyd
"I speak for the whole team when I say we're excited to have him back and look forward to taking another step in the right direction next year." --WSU redshirt-sophomore Daven Harmeling