AP Names Bennett Coach of the Year

Friday, March 30th 2007, 12:48 pm
By: News On 6

ATLANTA (AP) _ Tony Bennett, who led Washington State to its best season in 60 years, was selected The Associated Press' college basketball coach of the year Friday.

The 37-year-old Bennett, who succeeded his father, Dick, this season at Washington State, is the second coach to win the award after his first season as a head coach, joining Bill Hodges of Indiana State in 1979.

The Cougars, who were picked ninth in the Pac-10 preseason poll, finished 26-8, were second to UCLA in the conference and lost in the second round of the NCAA tournament. It was their first tournament appearance since 1994 and the fifth in school history.

Bennett received 40 votes from the 72-member national media panel that selects the weekly Top 25. Thad Matta of Ohio State and Billy Gillispie of Texas A&M each received 10 votes, while Bo Ryan of Wisconsin got seven.

The Cougars reached as high as ninth in the rankings this season and were 13th in the final poll. He was an assistant to his father at Washington State for three seasons and played for him at Wisconsin-Green Bay.

Bennett and Washington State agreed to a contract extension earlier this week.

Bennett is the first Washington State coach to win the award, which was first given in 1967.

Roy Williams of North Carolina won the award last season.