University Of Virginia Basketball Coach Declines Raise Following NCAA Win
Tony Bennett, the University of Virginia men’s basketball coach, led the Cavaliers to their first appearance in the Final Four in 35 years and on to win their first NCAA Championship title in program history this year.
But when he was offered a raise for such an amazing accomplishment, Bennett rejected it.
“President Ryan and [Athletic Director] Carla were very gracious in what they offered to me as a potential contract, but I have a very good contract,” said Bennett, in an article published on UVA’s website. “I have more than enough, and 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…I have more than I need. I’m blessed beyond what I deserve.”
Not only that, the coach also donated $500,000 toward a career-training initiative for current and former UVA men’s basketball players.
Bennett went on to say that he consulted with his wife, Laurel, before making the decision to turn the money down. “She’s always said, ‘Is there something we can do that can make a difference?’ That’s been on her heart and mind, and we’ve talked about it a lot,” he revealed.
According to an estimate from USA Today, Bennett made approximately $4.15 million last season. This includes his base salary of $525,000, $1.175 million in performance incentives for the team’s 2018-2019 season, $2.5 million in annual “supplemental compensation,” which typically includes compensation for a university’s use of a coach’s likeness or image, and a longevity bonus of $1 million for staying with the team.
Though it’s commendable that Bennett turned down a raise, these aforementioned numbers already put him among some of the highest-paid college coaches in the country. According to CNBC, the top 10 highest-paid NCAA basketball coaches all make over $3 million while the highest-paid coach, Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski, makes around $9 million per year.
“Laurel and I are in a great spot, and in the past I’ve had increases in my contract,” said Bennett. “We just feel a great peace about where we’re at, all that’s taken place, and how we feel about this athletic department and this community and this school. I love being at UVA.”