Tony Bennett Salary & Contract Details

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA - MARCH 09: Head coach Tony Bennett of the Virginia Cavaliers cuts down the net after winning a game against the Louisville Cardinals to a clinch a share of the ACC regular season title at John Paul Jones Arena on March 9, 2019 in Charlottesville, Virginia. (Photo by Ryan M. Kelly/Getty Images)

Virginia head coach Tony Bennett has the Cavaliers in the Final Four, meaning he is reaping more than just increased recognition as a successful coach.

Bennett arrived at Virginia in 2009 after having spent three years as the head coach at Washington State. Perhaps Bennett’s most notable accomplishment during his time with the Cougars was the development of current Golden State Warriors star Klay Thompson. Following in the footsteps of his father Dick Bennett, who had coached Washington State immediately prior to his retirement and Tony taking over, the younger Bennett won a school-record 26 games in the 2006-07 and 2007-08 seasons.

Bennett’s experience in the game goes beyond being his father’s understudy for years. He played for his father at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay from 1989 to 1992. At that point he was drafted by the Charlotte Hornets. Bennett appeared in almost every game of the season for the Hornets in the 1992-93 and 1993-94 seasons but played in only three games during the 1994-95 season due to a foot injury. That would be the end of Bennett’s NBA career.

He was offered the head coaching job at Indiana University but declined to return for the 2008-09 season, which would prove to be his last at Washington State.

At that time, he signed a five-year contract worth $1.7 million per year at Virginia. Bennett proved himself worthy of the price tag, finishing first in the ACC in both the 2013-14 and 2014-15 seasons.

Because of that success, Bennett received a new contract that he is currently coaching under. Bennett’s new deal took effect in May of 2015 and was for seven years. In addition to his new compensation of $2.315 million ($441,000 of which was provided by the university and $1.87 coming from donors and sponsors), the performance incentives were increased as well to put Bennett in the top 15 of the nation’s highest-paid men’s basketball coaches.

Bennett has already received a longevity bonus of $1 million earlier this month by staying in Charlottesville despite a reported lucrative offer from the University of Illinois in 2017. His other performance bonuses are as follows:

Earned bonuses so far this season

  • $25,000 – Finishing the regular season in the top 10 of the AP poll
  • $50,000 – Qualifying for the NCAA tournament
  • $50,000 – Winning the ACC Coach of the Year award
  • $100,000 – Winning the AP National Coach of the Year award
  • $100,000 – Winning the ACC tournament
  • $100,000 – Advancing to the Sweet 16
  • $250,000 – Advancing to the Elite Eight
  • $250,000 – Advancing to the Final Four

Qualifying for the national championship game would not merit Bennett any bonus money but winning a national title would give him another $400,000. Should Virginia falter in the Final Four or potentially in the national championship game, Bennett would finish the 2018-19 season at $3.24 million. If the Cavaliers win the national title, Bennett would finish at $3.64 million.

Bennett’s success at the collegiate level and NBA experience don’t necessarily mean he’s a lock for an NBA vacancy anytime soon, however. Also included in his current contract was an increased buyout figure that required Bennett to pay Virginia $3 million if he had resigned prior to March of 2018. That figure has since dropped to $1 million.

Given the amount of his total compensation with all the bonuses included and the success he has had at Virginia, it’s hard to imagine him leaving anytime soon.


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