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Coach of National Champs Declines Raise

Move by University of Virginia's Tony Bennett is making waves
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 17, 2019 12:36 PM CDT
Virginia coach Tony Bennett speaks at the start of a celebration of Virginia's NCAA men's basketball title, Friday, Sept. 13, 2019, in Charlottesville, Va. A banner was raised at John Paul Jones Arena.   (Andrew Shurtleff/The Daily Progress via AP)

(Newser) – University of Virginia men's basketball coach Tony Bennett has declined a pay raise offered by the school and instead asked school officials for additional compensation for his staff and program improvement, the AP reports. University officials said in a news release Monday that Bennett did sign a one-year contract extension, but instead of a pay hike for himself, the coach asked athletic director Carla Williams to focus on his staff and the program. The release also stated that Bennett and his wife also made a $500,000 contribution toward a career-development program for current and former players. It is unclear how much of a raise Bennett declined. Bennett earned nearly $6 million last season and received a $1 million retention bonus. The extension means Bennett is under contract with the school for the next seven years.

"I have more than enough," Bennett said in the release, adding that the gift was his wife's idea. "If there are ways that this can help out the athletic department, the other programs and coaches, by not tying up so much (in men's basketball), that's my desire." Williams said coaches turning down raises "just does not happen in our industry." The Cavaliers won their first national championship in April with an overtime victory against Texas Tech. The run to the championship came a year after Virginia made NCAA Tournament history by losing to UMBC and becoming the first top-seeded team to lose to a 16th-seeded team. Bennett's record in his 10 years at Virginia is 254-89 and includes seven NCAA Tournament appearances and one trip to the NIT.

(Read more University of Virginia stories.)

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