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Tony Bennett ranked among nation’s “cleanest” coaches

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A candid poll of his fellow coaches earns Bennett a high accolade.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Orlando Practice Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Virginia Cavaliers fans generally agree that Tony Bennett “was created by God himself,” but now they can boast that they’re not alone in thinking so.

As part of the fantastic “Candid Coaches” series that CBSSports.com does every year, coaches from around the country at programs of all calibers were polled as to which head coaches run their respective programs most in line with the NCAA rulebook. In a recurring theme of the Virginia-Wisconsin similarities, Bennett came in a tie for third with Wisconsin’s Greg Gard.

Mike Brey of Notre Dame was second, and John Beilein (Michigan) virtually ran away with the vote, earning 26 percent of votes cast.

“He does everything by the book,” one coach said. “Literally I think he was created by God himself. He's a genuine great human being."

All coaches provided their responses in exchange for total anonymity, so we can’t say for sure who gave Bennett this high praise. Another coach said that if Bennett doesn’t run a squeaky-clean program, “there’s no hope for our game.”

Other notable coaches coming in behind Bennett are Gonzaga’s Mark Few and Michigan State’s Tom Izzo. Of all eight coaches listed, Chris Holtmann (Ohio State) is the only one to not reach a Final Four as an assistant or head coach.