HANK KURZ Jr.
AP Sports Writer
Virginia wants to keep men's basketball coach Tony Bennett in Charlottesville for many more years.
Coming off the program's best season in decades, the school announced Tuesday that Bennett has signed a new seven-year contract that will keep him courtside with the Cavaliers through the 2020-21 season.
The new deal is affirmation for Bennett, who is 106-60 in five years as Virginia's coach.
"The vision he had for our program when he accepted the head coaching position is developing according to his plan," athletic director Craig Littlepage said in a release by the school. "It will be exciting to watch the development of our players and the program in the coming years."
The contract replaces an extension Bennett signed in 2012 that would have taken him through the 2018-19 season. It increases his salary and supplemental income to $1.942 million, according to a release from the school, up from $1.7 million.
Bennett was named the Atlantic Coast Conference coach of the year after leading Virginia to a school record-tying 30 victories and the ACC regular season and tournament championships. It was the Cavaliers first outright regular season ACC title in 33 years, and first tournament championship in 38 years.
The highlights also came in a season when the ACC added high level programs in Syracuse and Pitt.
The Cavaliers (30-7), who have been among the nation's stingiest defensive teams throughout Bennett's tenure, also were a top seed in the NCAA tournament and made their first appearance in the Sweet 16 since 1995. Their season ended there with a 61-59 loss to Michigan State.
Bennett hopes the season was just the start of more good things to come now that all the players in the program are players he recruited, and most have had time to learn his offensive and defensive systems.
"I love coaching at the University of Virginia and living in Charlottesville where the community has been wonderful to my family," he said in the school release. "I feel we are building something special here and this commitment by the University is another great step towards ensuring we continue to compete at a high level."
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