The US Basketball Writers Association announced the recipient of its annual Henry Iba Award, its national coach of the year honors, and it’s none other than Virginia Cavaliers head coach Tony Bennett. This is the third time that Bennett has won this award, and the second time while at Virginia. He also won the award in 2007 while at Washington State.
Bennett, who won his third ACC Coach of the Year honors this season, has guided the Hoos to a 28-2, 17-1 ACC regular season, picking up an ACC Tournament win over Louisville in the quarterfinals Thursday afternoon. Virginia was originally picked to finish sixth in the conference, but defeated every other school in the ACC en route to a record-setting 17 ACC wins and a four-game lead over the next closest conference opponent.
Only the legendary John Wooden has won this award more, with six trophies to Bennett’s three. The USBWA has been recognizing the national coach of the year since 1959.
Under Bennett’s contract, he is set to receive a $50,000 bonus for earning the ACC Coach of the Year honors. If Virginia finishes in the final AP or Coaches poll in the Top 10, he’ll receive an additional $75,000. The AP will release their final poll this week, as they don’t release a post-tournament poll, so it’s expected that Bennett will achieve this bonus.
Under his contract, he’ll receive an additional $100,000 for national coach of the year honors, but the contract doesn’t call out the USBWA’s Iba Award specifically. The contract recognizes the NABC, Naismith, AP, or Jim Phelan Award (awarded by Collegeinsider.com).
A well-deserved honor for the head coach, who still has work ahead of him to lead Virginia to eight more victories this year.