CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (Cavaliers Communications) – Virginia head coach Tony Bennett was recognized with the Nell and John Wooden Excellence in Coaching Award on Wednesday (Oct. 2).
Bennett led Virginia to its first-ever NCAA Championship in 2019 as the Cavaliers amassed a school-record 35 wins and claimed a share of its ninth ACC regular-season title.
“I sincerely wish I could be there today,” Nan Wooden said. “I cannot be happier with the selection of coach Tony Bennett for receiving an award named after my mother and father. Tony has the same values and beliefs that my dad held dear. While I’ve never met his wife Laurel, she appears to be a lot like my mother. Congratulations to the both of them.”
Bennett has been named ACC Coach of the Year four times, the Henry Iba National Coach of the Year three times, surpassed only by John Wooden (7), and the Naismith Coach of the Year two times. Bennett has amassed a record of 254-89 (74.1%) in 10 years at Virginia.
The Nell and John Wooden Excellence in Coaching Award was created in 2012 by Bob Geoghan, with the close coordination of Coach Wooden’s family, to recognize college basketball coaches who possess the character traits exemplified by the late UCLA legendary coach whose high standards and personal integrity are depicted in his famous “Pyramid of Success.”
Previous winners of the Nell and John Wooden Excellence in Coaching Award include Roy Williams, Mike Krzyzewski and Jay Wright.
Shawna and Keith Payne, Jr., and the Payne Family sponsored today’s presentation, which was held at John Paul Jones Arena. Keith Payne, Jr., is a former UVA standout football player and is currently a prominent real estate developer in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area.