Naturally, Virginia coach Tony Bennett got a little extra attention from the Northwest media at the Maui coaches event this morning. Not only is he coach of Virginia -- UW's opening opponent in the Maui Invitational tomorrow -- but because of his time as head coach at Washington State and his additional time there as an assistant to his father, Dick Bennett.
Here's some of what Tony had to say:
On his 2-1 Cavaliers: "On the way out we played Stanford, and they took it to us. They’re picked ninth in the Pac-10, and we play Washington, who’s picked to win the Pac-10. I know we’ve got our hands full.
On the pairing with UW: "I wasn’t surprised. I just had a feeling. There are so many good teams here. ... I don’t know who does the pairings, but it was a match-up that people would probably have an interest in."
Comparing Virginia with WSU: "This program is the same stages that it was the early years in Washington State. I remember when my father took the job at Washington State, it needed to go through some hard years and our first class at Washington State, we brought in six freshmen. We brought in six freshmen this class, and it was hard for the first two years. But when those young men matured and became upperclassmen was went we faced some success. And it’s the same formula here."
"I appreciated and loved my time in Pullman, and there are some special relationship that were built and it was a hard decision to leave. But I know that program is in good hands with Coach (Ken) Bone and the players they have, and I have a wonderful opportunity at Virginia. Virginia really represents what’s right to me in college athletics, with its academic excellence, and then a chance to compete in a league like the ACC. It’s my job to rebuild it, and now it’s my chance.
On his dad starting the WSU rebuilding, while doing it on his own at Virginia: "I always remember saying how much I appreciated (my father) taking, whether it’s the heavy lifting or some bullets. And there’s a process that you can’t shortcut when you’re trying to build a program the way our formula is. You learn from it, you get young men with character, and you battle. You try to lift up the standard of play and that’s what we’re going through right now. We have some work to do, but we’re getting valuable experience, and hopefully this will prove beneficial when they’re older."
On UW coach Lorenzo Romar: "I have all the respect for Lorenzo, though we were strong rivals in the league, I certainly have respect for him and his program."
The Huskies and Cavs meet at 9 p.m. Monday on ESPN2.