Dick Bennett will coach for rest of this season

Updated: February 27, 2006, 9:41 PM ET
By Andy Katz | ESPN.com

The worst-kept secret in the Northwest will become official Tuesday when Tony Bennett will replace his father, Dick, as the head coach at Washington State, a source close to the situation told ESPN.com Monday night.

Tony Bennett, who played for his father at Wisconsin-Green Bay, was named associate head coach a year ago. That's when a succession plan was put in writing in Pullman for Bennett to replace his father. Tony Bennett doesn't have a new contract but is expected to receive one, likely in the five-year range.

The source said Dick Bennett will coach the final two regular-season games at Arizona and Arizona State and in the Pac-10 tournament. Washington State (11-14, 4-12) is unlikely to reach the postseason, even with the newly formatted NIT saying it will take teams under .500.

Washington State finished seventh and sixth in the Pac-10 in Bennett's first two seasons. The Cougars pulled off significant wins under Bennett, such as their sweep of Washington this season, a win at Arizona last season and a sweep of UCLA and USC on the road in 2003-04 -- victories that didn't occur regularly for the Cougs.

Washington State has been offensively challenged this season, but defense has been a stalwart of the Cougars. Washington State allowed Stanford only 39 points and Cal 43 in home games last week. The problem: The Cougars scored only 37 and 41, respectively.

Washington State had to go eight games without point guard Derrick Low, who was out with a broken foot.

This will be Tony Bennett's first head coaching job. Bennett turns 37 in June; his father will retire at 62. Dick Bennett turns 63 in April.

Pat Knight is the head coach designate at Texas Tech and will take over whenever his father, Bob, retires. The same plan is in place at Oklahoma State, where Sean Sutton will replace Eddie Sutton when he retires.

Tony Bennett is expected to let the Cougars play with a bit more offensive freedom, although he intends to run the same defense.

Andy Katz is a senior writer at ESPN.com.

Andy Katz | email

Senior Writer, ESPN.com