Monday, April 6, 2009

Tony Bennett

Did you see that Tony Bennett was hired as Virginia's head coach? My first thought on that was that it's surprising he did not pursue or take, depending on reports, offers to coach Indiana and Marquette last year when those jobs were open and he was a hotter commodity.


Virginia is clearly a better job than Marquette, and while less prestigious than Indiana there's less baggage accompanying the job. They have a new arena on the way and play in the ACC.

Sounds like the people at Washington State were stunned that he left. Not sure why. He had two outstanding years followed by a so-so year. As good a coach as Tony is, it's not a given that he would have gotten the Cougars back to the level they reached in his first two years. His stock is as high as it's going to be for awhile, so taking the opportunity to coach in the ACC makes a lot of sense.

My friends were discussing what this meant to Bennett's chances of succeeding Bo Ryan in Madison. I don't think it means much, unless he a. Succeeds spectacularly or b. Fails miserably. Both are possibilities, but the greater likelihood is that he'll have a fair amount of success that qualifies him, as a home state boy, to be the next guy in charge at Wisconsin.
Bo could do like Dick Bennett did with Brad Soderberg and position Greg Gard or Gary Close to be the next coach, but just as Pat Richter dismissed Sodes to take Bo, I can't see Barry Alvarez just rubber stamping Bo's preferred choice.
Best of luck to Tony in Charlottesville.

6 comments:

Tyler Feuling said...

As a now former WSU Coug and diehard Badger fan...I kind of wish Tony would succeed Bo. If you could have seen the recruits even Dick got at WSU compared to what Tony did, it was like night and day. Tony knows how to recruit. People at WSU were stunned but unfortunately, Pullman is a stepping stone for all coaches. They are a mid-major in a major conference. Anyway, my two cents. Keep up the good work Scott!

Anonymous said...

Just a slight correction Scott. UVA's new state-of-the-art arena opened for the 06-07 season. Otherwise, great job.

Anonymous said...

Virginia is a clearly better job than Marquette. Really? I think its closer to 50-50.

Scott Tappa said...

A friend of mine sent me a similar comment via email, and my response was that I think Virginia's a better job than Wisconsin, too. The caveat we agreed upon was "potentially." Both UW and MU are in better shape now, by a long shot. But big picture, UVA's a top-notch public institution (notch about UW) with a great new facility and, here's the most important part -- more abundant in-state talent. Just have to have the right guy in place to make it happen.

Scott Tappa said...

Wazzou is in a tough spot, Tyler, because as you say it's a mid-major in the Pac-10. At least Tony and the football program have shown that success is possible if the right people are in charge.

Tyler Feuling said...

Absolutely both the football and basketball programs have shown success, except it is always short lived. Mike Price built the football team to national prominence and then left for Alabama (That went well for him). The Bennetts brought the basketball program to a sweet 16 and Tony left for Virginia. I think the thought is that the resources at WSU (with exception to the new improved football facility) are scarce. The in state talent in football has declined in recent years while the basketball talent has increased to one of the best in the nation. Now WSU has to compete on a national level for state prospects that usually come from the west side of the state (Seattle - the east and the west side of this state are as different as night and day...its a trip). Anyways...the whole point of that ramble is that the success comes in spurts and have shown to not last. I think coaches see WSU as a stepping stone and you can bet that if Ken Bone - the new basketball coach - sees success that Tony did, he will jump ship as well. The basketball facility is lacking and the football stadium still is in the lower tier of the Pac 10. I doubt ANY of that ties together.

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