Family Afffair: Bennett to hand job to son

Updated: September 23, 2005, 10:56 PM ET
Associated Press

SPOKANE, Wash. -- Whenever Dick Bennett steps down as head coach at Washington State, his son Tony will replace him.

Athletic director Jim Sterk said Friday that he let the Bennetts know over the summer that he intended to formalize the succession plan, which has the support of school President V. Lane Rawlins.

Sterk also made clear that Dick Bennett, 62, can coach as long as he wants.

"I'm like a pitcher in the bullpen, keeping my arm warm," said Tony Bennett, 36. "When they call me, I'll be ready to go."

Dick Bennett has insisted on committing for only one season at a time. He intends to coach in 2005-06, and then decide if he will return, Sterk and Tony Bennett said.

Last year, Tony Bennett was promoted to associate head coach. He's been given much of the responsibility for recruiting. It will be easier to bring players to Pullman if they can be assured that the coaching situation is stable, he said.

His contract will not change because of the announcement, Bennett and Sterk said

Tony Bennett played for his father at Wisconsin-Green Bay, and later played with Charlotte and Cleveland in the NBA before moving into coaching.

At Oklahoma State, Sean Sutton is the designated heir to his father Eddie, and at Texas Tech, associate basketball coach Pat Knight and Tim Knight, the school's assistant athletic director for men's basketball special projects, are the sons of Bob Knight.

Dick Bennett is entering his third season at Washington State. Under him, the Cougars have ranked among the top defensive teams in the nation and have won 14 Pacific-10 games in the two years, after winning eight the previous three years.

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press