Aug. 2, 2007
PULLMAN, Wash. - Washington State University and Tony Bennett have finalized a contract that will keep the Cougar men's basketball coach in Pullman through the 2013-14 season, WSU Director of Athletics Jim Sterk confirmed, Thursday.
The deal was originally announced in late March, but the details of the agreement were not in place until late last week. Bennett is scheduled to make an average of $600,000 annually.
"I am delighted we have been able to finalize our seven-year contract with Tony Bennett," offered Jim Sterk, WSU's director of athletics. "Washington State University realized we have very special basketball coach and many people worked hard to put together a contract that recognizes Tony's accomplishments and rewards him for his loyalty to the university.
"Tony's record as a first-year head coach speaks for itself. He played the key role in recruiting last year's team while as assistant to his father Dick Bennett. As head coach Tony and his staff put together a magical season that reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament. To win a school-record 26 games, finish second in the Pacific-10 Conference, and then come within a basket of reaching the Sweet 16 as a rookie coach is phenomenal. Our goal in developing the contract was to make sure Tony was appropriately compensated for his success and pave the way for a long-term relationship between Tony and WSU. I believe we have accomplished those goals."
Bennett's Cougars tied a school record with 26 wins (set in 1941) and WSU advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 13 years. The Cougars posted their first NCAA Tournament win since 1983 with a defeat of Oral Roberts in the first round. WSU was rewarded with final national rankings of 13th by the Associated Press and 17th by ESPN/USA Today.
"I'm thankful the contract is finalized and for the support of President Floyd and Jim Sterk," Bennett said. "My staff and I are excited to continue moving the men's basketball program in the right direction."
Bennett received The Naismith Award as national coach of the year and received the same honor from the Associated Press, The Sporting News, United States Basketball Writers Association, Basketball Times, CBS/Chevrolet, Collegehoops.net, Collegeinsider.com (Jim Phelan Award) and Rivals.com