Hello Cougar Fans and welcome to the A.D. Forum. Washington State University Director of Athletics Jim Sterk will post periodic entries on this page about topics regarding WSU Athletics.
March 31, 2009
Cougar Alumni, Students, Fans and Supporters,
I realize how disappointed you are with Tony Bennett accepting the head coaching position at the University of Virginia. I understand your feelings and share in them. Tony is a great coach and an even better person. During their six combined years with the men's basketball program, Tony and his father Dick built the program to a level of success unprecedented in school history.
I will look back at the Bennett years with great fondness, but it is time to look forward, and I want to reassure you that the state of Cougar basketball is in great shape, now and in the future.
Our search for Tony's successor began immediately and I intend for the process to not take longer than two weeks. At the conclusion of the process, we will have found someone with the experience and values that Dick and Tony brought to the program as well as epitomizing our core values at the Athletic Department: Excellence, Integrity, Passion, Pride, and Student-Athlete Well Being.
I can say with certainty that whoever our new coach will be, he is inheriting a program that is one of the best in the nation. Six years ago, when I conducted a search for the head coaching position, I realized there were many individuals who did not want to consider the job, fearing it would mean losses on their resume.
Dick and Tony took that risk. While losses did occur early in their tenure, because of their hard work and dedication to rebuilding the program, Cougar men's basketball is in a much better place than it was prior to their arrival.
We have invested significant resources to the program during the past five years. Of all the Pac-10 schools, we devote the third-highest percentage of our overall department budget to men's basketball, only behind UCLA and Arizona. Additionally, since 2003, we have increased the amount of dollars spent for men's basketball by over 100 percent. Furthermore, we took steps to lessen the travel burden by chartering planes on several road trips this season.
We have also devoted resources to facility development, including the creation of a practice facility comprised of two gyms, the remodeling of locker rooms at Beasley Coliseum and Bohler Athletic Complex, new offices at Bohler, and additional improvements to Beasley.
Much of these improvements would not be possible without your support through the A.D.'s Fund for Basketball Excellence. The fund was established during the 2007 season and is still active. I greatly appreciate your support of the program through your donations and pledges to this fund, which you may contribute to by clicking HERE .
Because of Dick and Tony, the foundation for success is established. Be assured that we will not take a step backward. This foundation will be continued to be built upon.
I thank you once again for your support. Because of it and what has been accomplished over the past six years, the future of Cougar basketball is bright, and I am excited for it.