Casual Fridays on the sidelines: UVA’s Tony Bennett weighs in
My buddy and sportswriting partner-in-crime, Scott German, isn’t a fan of Casual Fridays, and the fact that they have been extended indefinitely in college basketball this season – let’s just say that poor Scott almost lost his mind when Notre Dame coach Mike Brey coached an ACC game in shorts.
I’ve tried to defend the decision, made back in the preseason, to go casual – the idea being, meh, there’s nobody in the stands, and it’s only for this year.
Scott’s point: no, there isn’t anybody in the stands, but that means if we’re watching, it’s on TV, and that might make it more important for coaches to look the part.
Enter UVA coach Tony Bennett.
Bennett, famously, didn’t wear a tie on gamedays in his first coaching gig, at Washington State, but the AD at UVA who hired him, Craig Littlepage, made it clear, at Virginia, you’ll wear a tie.
“I was like, oh, brother,” Bennett said, in response to a question from Seth Davis of The Athletic two summers ago.
“I asked my wife, and she said she thought it would probably be a good idea. So, I wore the tie, but couldn’t stand it.”
Wouldn’t you know it, then, that the year he finally ditched the tie – 2018-2019 – he won his first national title.
“It’s all about being comfortable,” Bennett said.
This week, Bennett was asked to weigh in on the Casual Fridays approach to 2020-2021.
You won’t be surprised at his take.
“No way coaches should ever go back to wearing suits,” Bennett said. “There would not be pushback from the majority of coaches.”
Which isn’t to say that you should expect Bennett to go Full Mike Brey.
Polos and slacks.
“We’re not a GQ staff,” Bennett said.
Story by Chris Graham