timberland pro jacket Bennett named national Coach of Year for third time
Virginia’s Tony Bennett has won the Henry Iba Award as college basketball’s Coach of the Year for the third time, entering iconic territory. Wooden, who guided UCLA to 10 national championships during the 1960s and ’70s, received the award six times.
Unranked in preseason polls and picked to finish sixth in the conference, Virginia rose to No. 1 in mid February and won the league regular season going away with a 17 1 mark. semifinal.
“It’s the attention to all the small things, the little details,” assistant coach Jason Williford said of Bennett’s approach. “That has not wavered, and I think that’s what has made him as successful a head coach as he’s been.
“But there’s something special about this group, and he’s said it from day one: They’re connected, there’s a unity about them and there’s total buy in. We can coach them. We can coach them hard. They’ll listen. It’s been a fun group.”
The USBWA first honored Bennett after his rookie season as a head coach, 2006 07, when he steered Washington State to its best season in 24 years. His Cougars finished second in the Pacific 10 and reached the second round of the NCAA tournament. The Cavaliers won the ACC regular season title outright and finished the year 30 4 by falling to Michigan State in the second round of the NCAAs.
Two time Iba winners are North Carolina’s Roy Williams, Indiana’s Bob Knight, St. John’s Lou Carnesecca, DePaul’s Ray Meyer, Temple’s John Chaney, Purdue’s Gene Keady and Ohio State’s Fred Taylor.
Among those seven, only Keady is not enshrined in the Basketball Hall of Fame. Keady was elected into the College Basketball Hall of Fame five years ago.
Presented since 1959, the Iba Award is named for the late Hall of Fame coach whose Oklahoma State, then called Oklahoma A teams won two national championships. He also led the United States to a pair of Olympic gold medals.
Bennett will be honored April 9 at the Missouri Athletic Club in St. Louis. Other awards presented that night are the USBWA’s Oscar Robertson Trophy for national Player of the Year and the Wayman Tisdale Award for national Freshman of the Year.