There’s going to be another new face in the Virginia Basketball program next season as head coach Tony Bennett announced Kirk Penney will be joining the coaching staff as the Director of Player Development/Coaching Staff Consultant.
Bennett and Penney have a long and intertwined history, stemming all the way back to the former’s time coaching in the latter’s home country of New Zealand. The younger Bennett recommended Penney to his father Dick Bennett while the elder Bennett was head coach at Wisconsin. Penney played under Bennett from 1999-2003 (when Tony was on staff) and helped the Badgers reach the Final Four in 2000. He was also an All-Big Ten First Team honoree in his final two seasons in Madison.
Penney was the first New Zealander to play in the Final Four, and fellow Westlake Boys High School alum Jack Salt became the second (and first to play in and win a National Championship) this past season. After graduation, Penney spent time with the Miami Heat and Los Angeles Clippers in the NBA, and played abroad in six different countries (Spain, Israel, Lithuania, Germany, Turkey and Australia).
Said Tony Bennett in Virginia’s release:
I am excited to reunite with Kirk and add him to the Virginia basketball family. I have known Kirk for over 20 years and have tremendous respect for him as a person, player and coach. He will make an immediate impact with our program with his knowledge and experience. We are thrilled to welcome Kirk, his wife, Audra, and children, Olivia, Ava and Ben to Charlottesville.
Welcome to Charlottesville, Penneys!