Virginia basketball coach Tony Bennett turns down raise after winning a national title

"I have more than enough, and if there are ways that this can help out the athletic department, the other programs and coaches, by not tying up so much [in men's basketball], that's my desire," Bennett said.
Virginia Cavaliers head coach Tony Bennett during the NCAA College Basketball game between the Louisville Cardinals and the Virginia Cavaliers at John Paul Jones Arena in Charlottesville, VA on March 9, 2019.Jacob Kupferman / CSM/ZUMA Wire via AP file
  • Share this —
By Farah Otero-Amad

University of Virginia basketball coach Tony Bennett declined a raise while extending his contract by another year, the university announced on Monday.

Coming off of a 2019 national title win, Bennett asked that the money be used to pay his staff more and for improvements to both his program as well as other Virginia teams.

"[My wife] Laurel and I are in a great spot, and in the past, I've had increases in my contract," Bennett said in the news release. "We just feel a great peace about where we're at, all that's taken place, and how we feel about this athletic department and this community and this school. I love being at UVA...

"I have more than enough, and if there are ways that this can help out the athletic department, the other programs and coaches, by not tying up so much [in men's basketball], that's my desire."

Bennett's new contract runs through the 2025-26 season. According to the USA Today coaching database, Bennett made $4.15 million last season.

"Tony's decision—to turn down a well-deserved raise and instead invest in his players and UVA athletics more broadly—tells you everything you need to know about him as a leader and as a human being," university president Jim Ryan said. "Tony is one of the most selfless people I've ever met, and this is just the latest example."

Bennett and his wife Laurel have also pledged $500,000 toward a career-development program started to assist current and former UVA men’s basketball players.

Bennett has coached the Cavaliers since the 2009-10 season, reaching the NCAA tournament seven times, including in each of the past six seasons.

Farah Otero-Amad