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Tony Bennett

Tony BennettWSU's Tony Bennett will take Virginia job.

Washington State men's basketball coach Tony Bennett will be named the new coach at the University of Virginia.

Bennett told WSU president Elson S. Floyd and athletic director Jim Sterk this afternoon that he has taken the job. Later, Bennett told his players of his decision.

Sterk said Virginia asked for permission to speak to Bennett on Friday.

"Dick and Tony Bennett have elevated the men's basketball program at Washington State to an unprecedented level of success," Sterk said. "We will begin a national search for a coach immediately with the goal of finding someone with the integrity, experience, and values that Dick and Tony brought to the program."

Dick Bennett was hired as WSU's coach in 2003, and after three seasons his son, Tony, was elevated from assistant coach to the head-coaching spot.

Dave Leitao resigned at Virginia two weeks ago after a 10-18 season, the Cavaliers' worst in more than 40 years. Leitao had coached at Virginia for four seasons.

Bennett was a hot item a year ago after taking the Cougars to a second straight NCAA tournament. He turned down a chance to go to Indiana, and also rebuffed advances from Marquette and LSU.

This year, the Cougars fell back to a 17-16 overall record and a one-game appearance in the NIT.

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