CHARLOTTESVILLE — The University of Virginia revealed Monday that men’s basketball coach Tony Bennett has turned down a raise after leading the Cavaliers to a national championship in April.
Bennett had six years remaining on his contract and accepted a seventh year from athletic director Carla Williams.
“President [Jim] Ryan and Carla were very gracious in what they offered to me as a potential contract but I have a very good contract,” said Bennett in a news release sent out by UVa on Monday morning.
“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.”
Williams said: “This just does not happen in our industry.”
In its most recent accounting, USA Today put Bennett’s annual compensation at $4.15 million, fourth in men’s college basketball behind John Calipari at Kentucky, Mike Krzyzewski at Duke and Tom Izzo at Michigan State.
All have coached their teams to national championships, with Bennett winning the title for the first time last April. Bennett, who has coached 10 season at UVa, holds a 254-89 record with the Cavs and has seen seven of his UVa teams reach the NCAA Tournament and another play in the NIT.
Bennett credited his wife, Laurel, for suggesting ways to spread their wealth.
“She’s always said, ‘Is there something we can do that can make a difference,’” Tony Bennett said. “That’s been on her heart and mind and we’ve talked about it a lot.
“Laurel and I are in a great spot and, in the past, I’ve had increases in my contract. 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 fully support what we’re trying to do. I see the big picture.”
He advised Williams to use a proposed raise to compensate staff and make improvements to facilities. The Bennetts also plan to contribute $500,000 to a career-development program for present and past UVa basketball players, the release said.
“Tony’s decision to turn down a well-deserved raise and instead invest in his players and UVa athletics more broadly tells you everything you need to know about him as a leader and human being,” Ryan said.