Home Mailbag: Why is Tony Bennett called the ‘Dean and Markel Families’ coach?

Mailbag: Why is Tony Bennett called the ‘Dean and Markel Families’ coach?

Chris Graham
uva tony bennett
Photo: Mike Ingalls/AFP

Do the Dean and Markel Families pay some of Tony Bennett’s salary? All of it? 


If you’re wondering what Nelson is asking here, it may be that you just haven’t seen a press release from UVA Athletics, or a story on VirginiaSports.com, that refers to Tony Bennett as “University of Virginia Dean and Markel Families Men’s Head Basketball Coach Tony Bennett.”

It can come across as a bit of classed-up NASCAR, how the drivers refer to the #19 Reser’s Fine Foods Toyota or the #11 Yahoo Toyota Camry XSE.

What “Dean and Markel Families” ahead of Bennett’s name in the press releases and website stories refers to is the Tom Dean and Tony Markel Men’s Head Basketball Coaching Endowment, which was formally rolled out in the 2019 season, a couple of months before the program’s first national championship.

The $10 million endowment, per a release from UVA Athletics, provides “ongoing support for the men’s basketball program.”

Tom Dean is a 1979 UVA alum; Tony Markel is a 1964 alum.

Nelson’s question got me thinking, which is dangerous.

“This is just me speculating, but if the endowment is still at $10 million, I would imagine that it couldn’t pay more than a relative tiny fraction of Tony’s salary,” I wrote back to Nelson’s email, which he’d sent to me on May 24.

I submitted a Freedom of Information Act request on May 28, got a notice from the UVA FOIA office on June 4 that they were swamped with presumably more important stuff, and told me that they’d get back to me on June 13.

June 13 was last Thursday; I was at the College World Series, and writing from there about baseball, the Elijah Gertrude news and the news about the extensions for Bennett and Brian O’Connor, both of which triggered fresh FOIA requests from me that I should be hearing back on tomorrow or Friday.

I’m filibustering here.

I’ve got the answer on what the Dean and Markel Families pay toward Tony Bennett’s salary.

The answer: in fiscal year 2022-2023, it was $467,007.67, or 15.1 percent of Bennett’s $3.1 million salary.

Master P has a song about “trying to make a dollar out of 15 cents” that would seem to apply here.

Chris Graham

Chris Graham

Chris Graham, the king of "fringe media," is the founder and editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1994 alum of the University of Virginia, Chris is the author and co-author of seven books, including Poverty of Imagination, a memoir published in 2019, and Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, and The Worst Wrestling Pay-Per-View Ever, published in 2018. For his commentaries on news, sports and politics, go to his YouTube page, or subscribe to his Street Knowledge podcast. Email Chris at [email protected].