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Tony Bennett declines pay raise after winning national championship: ‘I have more than I need’

Posted at 11:50 AM, Sep 16, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-16 11:50:36-04

MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA – APRIL 08: Head coach Tony Bennett of the Virginia Cavaliers celebrates with his team after the 85-77 win over the Texas Tech Red Raiders in the 2019 NCAA men’s Final Four National Championship game at U.S. Bank Stadium on April 08, 2019 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — After leading the University of Virginia men’s basketball team to their first NCAA title in program history, head coach Tony Bennett declined a pay raise and requested that the money be used for his coaching staff.

“I have more than I need,” Bennett told VirginiaSports, the official athletics website for the University of Virginia. “I’m blessed beyond what I deserve.”

The website reports that Bennett met with athletics director Carla Williams after winning the national championship. In that meeting, Bennett was offered a “substantial raise.”

Bennett declined the raise after discussing the offer with his wife, Laurel.

Instead, the three-time National Coach of the Year extended his contract another year and requested that the university give the additional compensation to his coaching staff.

“This just does not happen in our industry,” Williams said.

Bennett’s contract now runs for seven years.

“President Ryan and Carla were very gracious in what they offered to me as a potential contract, but I have a very good contract,” Bennett told Virginia Sports. “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.”

Bennett and his wife also pledged $500,000 toward a career development program for his players, past, present, and future. The program is meant to prepare players for career opportunities outside of basketball.

Bennett said his wife came up with the idea.

“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 added.