Tony Bennett, the University of Virginia’s (UVA) men’s basketball head coach, has recently faced some adversity in the NCAA Tournament. Hired by UVA in 2009 from Washington State, Bennett led the Cavaliers to the 2019 National Championship. However, since that victory, his teams have struggled to find success in the NCAA Tournament, leading to discontent among Virginia fans. With a few angry fans calling for UVA to fire Bennett, we take a look at his contract, salary, net worth, and buyout.
Bennett’s UVA team has yet to win a game at the NCAA Tournament since his National Championship win. In 2020, there was no tournament because of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the Cavaliers lost in the first round of March Madness in 2021 as a #4 seed to Ohio. They failed to make the tournament in 2022, and in 2023, they lost in the first round again as a #4 seed to Furman. Bennett’s teams also hold the dubious distinction of being the only ever #1 seed to lose in the first round of the NCAA tournament when they fell to UMBC in 2018.
After the disappointing loss to Furman in the 2023 NCAA Tournament first round, some UVA fans and college basketball fans are asking how much time the championship-winning coach has left at the Cavaliers.
FIRE TONY BENNETT!!!!!
— bernie johnson (@berniesjohnson) March 17, 2023
Tony Bennett is testing how many first round upset losses it will take to fire him
— Antonio McDyess Clay (@thom_not_tom) March 16, 2023
Contract and Salary
Bennett’s contract with UVA runs through the 2025/26 season. After winning the national championship in 2019, he rejected a raise. Instead, he and his wife, Laurel, pledged $500,000 toward a career development program for current and former Cavaliers players. In the 2022/23 season, Bennett earned a salary of $4.8 million, including a $1 million longevity bonus.
His contract also includes various incentives, such as:
- $50,000 for reaching the NCAA Tournament
- $100,000 for reaching the Sweet 16
- $250,000 for reaching the Elite Eight
- $250,000 for reaching the Final Four
- $400,000 for winning the National Championship
- $150,000 for finishing ranked top-ten nationally
- $50,000 for winning ACC Coach of the Year
- $100,000 for winning National Coach of the Year
Clearly, Bennett’s recent failures in the NCAA Tournament aren’t for lack of financial incentive.
If UVA were to consider firing Bennett, they would face a significant financial burden. His buyout is currently $13.3 million, a substantial sum that would undoubtedly impact the university’s budget and potentially affect other athletic programs.
The national title he won in 2019 serves as a testament to his coaching abilities and, combined with the considerable buyout, likely buys him some time with the Cavaliers. Additionally, replacing a championship-winning coach can be a risky endeavor, and UVA may not be eager to gamble on an unproven candidate, especially given the cost of letting Bennett go.
All things considered, the financial and reputational implications of severing ties with Tony Bennett make it a challenging decision for the University of Virginia.
Bennett’s net worth is estimated to be around $10 million, a reflection of his extensive and successful coaching career. Before joining UVA in 2009, Bennett served as the head coach at Washington State University from 2006 to 2009, where he built a reputation for strong defensive teams. Over the years, he has accumulated wealth through various sources, including his coaching contracts, endorsement deals, and other income streams.
In addition to his salary at UVA, Bennett has earned income from public appearances, speaking engagements, and basketball camps. These opportunities have allowed him to share his knowledge and expertise with aspiring athletes and fans alike. He has also entered into various contracts with sports brands and other companies, further boosting his net worth.
During his tenure at UVA, which spans over a decade, Bennett has brought consistent success to the Cavaliers’ basketball program. His accomplishments include multiple ACC regular-season and tournament titles, as well as the coveted 2019 National Championship. These achievements have not only solidified his status as a top-tier coach in college basketball but have also contributed to his substantial net worth.
Tony Bennett’s recent struggles in the NCAA Tournament have undoubtedly raised some eyebrows among UVA fans. But with a national championship under his belt and a hefty buyout looming, it seems unlikely that the Cavaliers will consider parting ways with their head coach just yet. Only time will tell if Bennett can guide the team to future success and silence the critics.