Virginia awards Tony Bennett with new 7-year contract

By Chip Patterson | College Football/Basketball Writer

Virginia won the ACC regular season and tournament title in 2013-14. (USATSI)
Virginia won the ACC regular season and tournament title in 2013-14. (USATSI)

Virginia and Tony Bennett have finalized a new seven year contract that includes a pay raise for the Cavaliers coach, the school announced on Tuesday.

Bennett's new deal will pay $1.924 million annually and run through 2020-21. The contract replaces the terms of Bennett's most recent extension, signed in 2012, which was set to expire in 2018-19 and paid $1.7 million per year.

"We are pleased with Coach Bennett's commitment to the University of Virginia," Virginia athletic director Craig Littlepage said. "Tony believes in the goals of the athletics department and the mission of the University. The vision he had for our program when he accepted the head coaching position is developing according to his plan. It will be exciting to watch the development of our players and the program in the coming years."

Virginia is coming off its most successful season in years, winning the ACC regular season and tournament title for the first time in school history and advancing to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 1995. Bennett was named the ACC Coach of the Year, and the Cavaliers return a solid core to compete with a restocked Duke team, North Carolina and Louisville for the league title in 2014-15.

"I'm thankful for receiving this new contract," Bennett said. "I love coaching at the University of Virginia and living in Charlottesville where the community has been wonderful to my family. I feel we are building something special here and this commitment by the University is another great step towards ensuring we continue to compete at a high level."

As Bennett's coaching star continues to rise, the former Charlotte Hornets point guard could become a potential target for a return to the NBA. Virginia made note a buyout provision, but did not specify the details. David Teel, of the Daily-Press, notes a "manageable" buyout.

Virginia is ranked No. 12 in our CBSSports.com 2014-15 preseason Top 25 (and one).

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