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Bennett’s 300th at Virginia: The first pillar is humility

tony bennett
Virginia coach Tony Bennett. Photo courtesy UVA Athletics.

Tony Bennett didn’t know he was near another coaching milestone until the new Voice of the Cavaliers, John Freeman, said something about it pregame.

“I didn’t even know until John said, ‘You know if you get this, this is your 300th.’ I was like ‘Hey, I think I won 300 already because I remember we played Marshall,’ and he said, ‘No, 300 wins here,’” said Bennett, who joined Terry Holland in the 300-win club Friday night with Virginia’s 61-43 win over Lehigh.

Bennett now has a 300-105 record in his 13th season at UVA, including the 2019 national championship, two ACC Tournament titles and five ACC regular-season championships, the most recent earlier this year.

He’s built his program on what he calls his “Five Pillars,” the first of which is humility.

If one can be said to “ooze humility,” Bennett oozes humility.

“It always goes to the players you had, and the staff that you had. I read this book, and this guy’s answer when everyone said, ‘How you are doing?’ the guy’s response was always, ‘Better than I deserve.’ The chance to have been here as long as I have, and the things that have happened and transpired here are better than I deserve. I know that, and I’m grateful for just being here and getting to coach,” Bennett said.

Thankfulness, incidentally, is the fifth pillar.

Holland’s team had a cumulative 326-173 record in his 16 seasons at Virginia from 1974-1990. He later served as athletics director at UVA from 1995-2001, helping lay the groundwork for the eventual construction of the John Paul Jones Arena in his tenure.

“Coach Holland is a legend, and I love that man and what he’s done for this institution,” Bennett said. “I don’t even know how many he’s won, I’m sure it’s a ton, but again, it means that it’s on the shoulders of others.”

Story by Chris Graham

augusta free press
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