Washington State hoops coach Bennett agrees to contract extension

Mar 29, 2007 - 1:01 AM PULLMAN, Washington (Ticker) -- Tony Bennett coached Washington State to unprecedented heights in his first season at the school. He will have the chance to do so again.

Bennett secured his long-term future Wednesday, agreeing to a seven-year contract extension through the 2013-14 season.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

"Tony has agreed in principle to a seven-year contract and enhancement, but we are still working out the structure so it would be premature to release any numbers," Washington State director of athletics Jim Sterk said. "We have not worked out all the specifics and will not do so until after the Final Four."

Bennett inherited the post when his father, Dick, retired after the 2005-06 campaign. The younger Bennett was outstanding in his first year at the helm, guiding the Cougars to a 26-8 record and a No. 3 seed in the NCAA Tournament.

Under Bennett, Washington State tied a school record for wins in a single season, matching the national runner-up team in 1941. The Cougars also posted their first NCAA Tournament victory in 24 years, a 70-54 first-round triumph over Oral Roberts on March 15.

Despite his team's second-round setback to Vanderbilt two days later, Bennett believes the Cougars are headed in the right direction.

"I want this group of young men and this program to know we do not want to be a flash in the pan," Bennett said. "We worked hard for four years to get to where we are. I am so excited to be in Pullman. I love the character of the young men on our team."

As a result of the Cougars' best season in over 60 years, speculation arose that the 37-year-old Bennett would bolt for a vacancy at a high-profile program. But Sterk would not let that happen.

"We are thrilled that we have one of the best coaches in college basketball at Washington State and are excited about the future," Sterk said. "When you talk about Tony and performance of our team this year, you must also give credit to his assistants as well as the student-athletes who have committed themselves to excellence both on and off the court."

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