ST. LOUIS (USBWA) – Virginia coach
Tony Bennett, who has guided the Cavaliers to a
28-2 overall regular-season record that includes an ACC-record 17-1
conference mark, has been named the winner of the Henry
Iba Award, given annually by the U.S. Basketball Writers
Association to the national coach of the year. The Cavaliers
added a 29th win today in the ACC Tournament quarterfinal vs.
For Bennett, this is the third time he's been selected as the
USBWA's National Coach of the Year and the second time in the last
four seasons. In the 2006-07 season, Bennett also won the award
while at Washington State. Only UCLA's John Wooden has won the award
more times (6). In addition, Bennett earned his third ACC Coach
of the Year Award earlier this week.
This season, Virginia was picked sixth in the ACC in the preseason
and was unranked in the national preseason polls. But under Bennett,
the Cavaliers nearly swept their conference schedule while earning
a third outright ACC regular-sesason title in the last five seasons,
along with the program's first No. 1 ranking since 1982. Virginia
became only the fourth team in the Top-25 era (1990-present) to
earn a No. 1 ranking after being unranked in the preseason (Kansas,
1990; Syracuse, 2010; and Baylor, 2017).
After today's win, Bennett is 217-85 (.718) in nine seasons at Virginia and 285-118
(.707) in 12 seasons overall. He has guided the Cavaliers to a school-best
seven straight 20-win seasons and four straight NCAA Tournament
appearances. Bennett has recorded a school-record six straight seasons
with 23-or-more wins, as well as a school-record six straight seasons
with 11 or more ACC wins.
Bennett will receive the Henry Iba Award at the College Basketball
Awards dinner April 9 at the Missouri Athletic Club in St. Louis,
which has partnered with the USBWA on the event. Other awards to
be presented that night are the Oscar Robertson Trophy for national
player of the year and the Wayman Tisdale Award for national freshman
player of the year. In addition, former Missouri and Hall of Fame
coach Norm Stewart and retired referee Ed Hightower each will receive
lifetime achievement awards. Reservations to the dinner are now
available to MAC members by calling 314-539-4470 and are open to
the public through collegebasketballawards.eventbrite.com.
Henry Iba Award is named in honor of the legendary
coaching great at Oklahoma A&M (now Oklahoma State) who won
two NCAA championships and two gold medals and one silver as coach
of the U S. Olympic teams. The award is voted on by the entire membership
of the USBWA.
The U.S. Basketball Writers Association was formed in
1956 at the urging of then-NCAA Executive Director Walter Byers.
With some 900 members worldwide, it is one of the most influential
organizations in college basketball. It has selected a national
coach of the year since the 1958-59 season. For more information
on the USBWA and its award programs, contact executive director
Joe Mitch at 314-795-6821.
Henry Iba Coach of the Year