Bennett wins Fellowship of Christian Athletes coaching honor

tony bennett

Tony Bennett. Photo by Dan Grogan.

Tony Bennett is the winner of the 2020 John Lotz “Barnabas” Award, presented annually by the Fellowship of Christian Athletes to honor a coach who best exhibits a commitment to Christ, integrity and encouragement to others, and lives a balanced life.

Bennett is the 18th recipient of the award, named for former North Carolina assistant and Florida head coach John Lotz.

“Throughout his coaching career, Tony Bennett has exemplified humble servant leadership both on and off the court, and all of us at the Fellowship of Christian Athletes are honored to recognize him,” said Shane Williamson, FCA President and CEO. “During this uniquely challenging basketball season, this outstanding leader has guided his players in matters much more eternal than the game of basketball. Tony has led himself, his family and his teams through the most difficult of defeats and the pinnacle of a national championship with amazing grace and consistency that can only come from the Holy Spirit leading his life.”

Bennett’s nominator shared that the coach “puts God first and maintains a Christ-like culture,” while pointing to Bennett’s often-referenced “Five Pillars: Why They Work and What We Can Learn:” Humility, Passion, Unity, Servanthood and Thankfulness.

According to a profile by Jim Daly of Focus on the Family, Bennett’s faith has served as the foundation for the Wisconsin native’s life since high school, when he was first introduced to Jesus at a Fellowship of Christian Athletes Camp in Colorado.

Virginia has amassed a 277-96 (.743) record in 11 seasons under Bennett’s direction, winning the national title in 2019 after a 35-3 season.

This past season, Bennett guided the Cavaliers to a 23-7 overall record and 15-5 mark in the Atlantic Coast Conference. UVA earned the No. 2 seed for the ACC Tournament before its cancellation.

Bennett was named the U.S. Basketball Writers Association District 3 Coach of the Year as Virginia led the nation in scoring defense for the sixth time.

Information from Virginia Athletics


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