What Others Are Saying About Tony Bennett ...
“Tony Bennett is one of the great young minds in college basketball. He's a hard worker who knows how to get the most out of his players. I'm sure he'll do very well in the ACC and it won't be too long before he's challenging the Dukes and North Carolinas of the league.”
Wisconsin Head Coach Bo Ryan
“Tony is one of the my favorites in the coaching business. He has a great balance in that he is an outstanding basketball coach and an outstanding person as well. I just think he coaches for all the right reasons.”
Washington Head Coach Lorenzo Romar
“Tony Bennett did an outstanding job with the Washington State program. Just like his father, Tony is a coach with solid values who does a tremendous job both on the court and off.
Arizona State Head Coach Herb Sendek
“In hiring Tony Bennett, Virginia is very lucky to have a high quality person who is also a very good basketball coach.”
LSU Head Coach Trent Johnson
“He is a fantastic coach. I’ve seen his teams play a lot. Anyone that has seen his teams play would know this is a great choice for Virginia. He puts his players in a position to be successful whatever the ability and talent level he is working with. He was able to get some good players to come to Pullman to play for him. This year their talent level was down a notch and they were still able to compete because of his ability to get the most out of his team.
"I have a lot of friends who are Washington State alumni and they have been worried for years about losing him. People that know him the best think the world of him.”
Former UVa All-American and former Seattle Supersonics General Manager Wally Walker
"Superb hoops DNA, and the kind of person and coach you love playing for under all circumstances. A fiery competitor who does it with class -- a younger Midwest/West Coast [Davidson Head Coach Bob] McKillop or [Villanova Head Coach Jay] Wright."
- Former Virginia Head Coach and current East Carolina Athletic Director Terry Holland (Richmond Times Dispatch - 3/31/09)
"Tony’s fantastic. His teams play really hard. They’re efficient. He does a great job in preparation and they play with a passion and enthusiasm that I think fans everywhere enjoy. Tony will adjust to his talent absolutely. His teams do a great job of covering defensively and they’re very efficient offensively. I don’t know that they’re consciously slowing it down, but they’re very effective and very efficient and they get the job done.”
- UNLV Head Coach Lon Kruger (Charlottesville Daily Progress - 3/31/09)
“I think ultimately, Virginia fans are going to really be happy with Bennett. He’s a class young man, a man of integrity, a guy who will represent UVa in a class way.”
- ESPN College Basketball Analyst Dick Vitale (Charlottesville Daily Progress - 3/31/09)
“The biggest thing about Tony’s team is that defensively, they’ve consistently been one of the leaders in the Pac-10 conferencce in scoring defense. They do not give you easy shots. You have to work ... you’re going to have to earn everything you get against them. We’ve called Washington State a bend but not break’ defense. You just knew they were not going to beat themselves. I’ve used the analogy that playing against Tony’s teams was like hitting a tennis ball against the wall ... it comes right back at you. And, you know, the wall usually wins those battles.
"Offensively, he’s a little bit more liberal than he’s given credit for. People try to link him to his dad, who came from the era before the shot clock, when they just passed the ball a lot and played slow. Tony’s teams play a little faster. It’s a motion-type offense and all five guys touch the ball. It’s not going to be a ton of one-on-one. All five guys have to work together to score the ball and I think people appreciate that kind of basketball.
"The record this year was not indicative of how [Washington State] has played during Tony’s time there. He had nine freshmen (seven true, two redshirts) he was trying to integrate into the program. In many ways, [Bennett] had a better year of coaching than he did when he was winning all those games because he had to do so much more with it.”
- Arizona Interim Head Coach Russ Pennell (Charlottesville Daily Progress - 3/31/09)
"He turned the [Washington State] program from absolutely nothing into a contender. We were in the NCAA two years in a row, and people thought we had the least amount of talent. We were beating teams, so it's scary to think what he'll do when he has talent."
- Washington State Senior Forward Daven Harmeling (Washington Post - 3/31/09)
"He is as quality a person, as quality a coach as anyone could ask for. He is a relentless recruiter. If people saw the players at Washington State, they'd say he didn't exactly set the world on fire. When you consider where that university is located, I think he did a remarkable job of bringing in great players. Now that he is in a more attractive community to recruit to, with a higher population of players in the adjacent areas, I think he is going to be a force to be reckoned with in the ACC."
- Former Saint Louis Head Coach and Former Wisconsin Interim Head Coach Brad Soderberg (Washington Post - 3/31/09)