Tony Bennett already has an ACC Coach of the Year award to his credit this season. He may soon have an even bigger one.
Bennett is one of five finalists for the 2014 Naismith Men’s College Coach of the Year, announced Thursday by the Atlanta Tipoff Club.
Joining Bennett as Naismith Men’s College Coach of the Year finalists were John Beilein, Larry Brown, Billy Donovan and Gregg Marshall.
Bennett has guided Virginia to a 28-6 overall record and led the Cavaliers to their sixth (second outright) ACC regular-season title and second ACC Tournament championship. Virginia’s 16-2 ACC regular-season record set a school mark and tied the league record for most wins in a season.
Bennett’s Cavaliers lead the nation in scoring defense at 55.3 points per game and Virginia’s 13 consecutive ACC wins from January 18 through March 1 also set a school record. Virginia clinched its third consecutive ACC winning season (16-2, 11-7, 9-7) for the first time since 1981-83. With 16 ACC wins, Virginia joined Georgia Tech (1982-86) as the only ACC schools to improve their ACC records in five consecutive seasons. Virginia also set a school record with by winning 12 ACC games by 10 or more points.
Under Bennett’s guidance, Virginia secured its third straight 20-win season for the first time since 1991-93. The Cavaliers are also one of three teams (NC Central and Southeast Missouri State) in the nation to improve its win total in each of the past five seasons.
In 2006-07, Bennett earned consensus National Coach of the Year and Pac-10 Coach of the Year honors as head coach at Washington State.
Bennett's Cavaliers earned their fourth No. 1 seed for the NCAA Tournament and will face No. 16 seed Coastal Carolina on Friday in the second round at PNC Arena in Raleigh, N.C. Tipoff is set for approximately 9:25 p.m.