Anthony Guy “Tony” Bennett (born June 1, 1969) is the head coach of the Virginia Cavaliers men’s basketball team since March 31, 2009. Bennett is regarded as the best defensive coach in the NCAA according to a 2015 CBS Sports survey of coaches, and his offensive system is praised as one of the most efficient. He is a two-time winner of the prestigious Henry Iba Award for the nation’s top coach as voted by the USBWA, and has won similar awards from the AP and Naismith.
Bennett shares school records for single-season wins at both Washington State: 26, in both ’07 and ’08; and Virginia: 30, in both ’14 and ’15. His teams matched records that had been in place for sixty-six years at Washington State and for thirty-two years at Virginia. Bennett is Virginia’s all-time leader in ACC win percentage and Washington State’s all-time leader in Pac-12 win percentage. He won six major coaching awards in 2007, breaking the Pac-12 record set by legend John Wooden in 1972. Bennett was the first coach to have defeated all five Naismith Hall of Fame coaches active as of the 2014–15 season and in the same year became the first coach to lead a team from outside Tobacco Road to back-to-back outright ACC regular season titles. Including shared titles, he is just the second in ACC history after Terry Holland. Bennett is also one of only three coaches (with Mike Krzyzewski and Roy Williams) to lead an ACC team to back-to-back 30-win seasons.His Cavaliers defeated Duke for the 2014 ACC Tournament championship.
Bennett played for the Green Bay Phoenix in college and the Charlotte Hornets in the NBA. He won the Frances Pomeroy Naismith Award in 1992 as the nation’s top player standing under six feet tall, and was simultaneously honored as the nation’s Academic All-American of the Year for his academic efforts. Bennett ranks first in NCAA Division I history for career three-point field goal accuracy, at 49.7%, peaking at 53.3% in 1990–91, and holds the all-time record by nearly three percentage points. He left Green Bay as the former Mid-Continent Conference’s all-time leader in both points and assists, and played three years for the Hornets before suffering a foot injury. He later attempted a professional comeback in Australia and New Zealand, where he then started coaching.
The best known member of a talented coaching family tree, he is the son of former Wisconsin Badgers, Green Bay, and Washington State coach Dick Bennett, and brother of former Indiana Hoosiers and Northern Illinois head coach Kathi Bennett. The frustrating “pack line” defense that the younger Bennett has perfected at Virginia was first implemented in an earlier form by the elder Bennett up until Tony took over head coaching duties from his father at Washington State.
Head coaching record
Overall 234–105 (.690)
Tournaments NCAA: 9–6 (.600)
NIT: 2–2 (.500)
Accomplishments and honors
2× ACC regular season championships (2014, 2015)
ACC Tournament championship (2014)
2× Henry Iba Award (2007, 2015)
Naismith College Coach of the Year (2007)
AP National Coach of the Year (2007)
2× ACC Coach of the Year (2014, 2015)
Pac-10 Coach of the Year (2007)
2x USBWA District 3 Coach of the Year (2015, 2016)
2× Academic All-American (1991, 1992)
Men’s Basketball Academic All-American of the Year (1991)
Frances Pomeroy Naismith Award (1992)
2× MCC Player of the Year (1991, 1992)
Records Tied single-season win records at both Virginia and Washington State
Pan American Games
Bronze medal – third place 1991 Havana National team
FIBA Under-19 World Championship
Gold medal – first place 2013 Prague National team