After conversation with AD, Bennett decides not to pursue Indiana job

Updated: March 30, 2008, 7:12 PM ET
By Andy Katz | ESPN.com

After speaking to Indiana athletic director Rick Greenspan on the telephone Saturday night, Washington State coach Tony Bennett told ESPN.com Sunday he has decided not to pursue the Hoosiers' head coaching job.

Bennett said Greenspan received permission from Washington State athletic director Jim Sterk late Saturday to speak to him. Bennett was not given a formal offer but he is the first coach Greenspan has contacted to replace Kelvin Sampson, who resigned in February.

"I thought about it, but I'm not going to pursue it," Bennett said.

Indiana wants to name a new coach by the Final Four. Now that Bennett has withdrawn his name, the Hoosiers could turn to former Golden State Warriors and Stanford coach Mike Montgomery, who has expressed interest through an intermediary, ESPN.com has learned.

Bennett said he wouldn't consider the vacant Cal job because he would not move within the conference. Bennett might be interested in the LSU opening. His wife, Laurel, is from Baton Rouge, La.

Sampson, who resigned in February, took a buyout a week after the school received notice of NCAA violations. Indiana has to go in front of the NCAA committee on infractions in June. Indiana could add self-imposed sanctions prior to the case being heard.

The NCAA won't release its findings or proposed penalties after the hearing, probably sometime this summer.

The Hoosiers went 3-4 under interim coach Dan Dakich and lost to Arkansas in the first round of the NCAA tournament. The Hoosier lose senior D.J. White. Freshman Eric Gordon is expected to declare for the NBA draft.

Bennett was the national coach of the year last season after leading Washington State to 26 wins, a second-place finish in the Pac-10 and a second-round appearance in the NCAA tournament. Bennett led the Cougars to 26 wins again this season and advanced to the Sweet 16, losing to top-seeded North Carolina Thursday night in Charlotte.

Bennett grew up in Wisconsin and played at Wisconsin-Green Bay under his father, Dick. Tony Bennett was an assistant at Wisconsin, working for his father on the 2000 Final Four team.

Washington State doubled Bennett's salary to $800,000 after last season. After the Cougars' NCAA tournament loss, Sterk said he would do everything in his power to keep Bennett -- including raises for his assistant coaches and improving charter travel out of remote Pullman.

While Washington State loses seniors Derrick Low, Kyle Weaver and Robbie Cowgill, they are expected to return key juniors Taylor Rochestie and Aron Baynes. The Cougars' recruiting class is led by Klay Thompson, the son of former NBA player Mychal Thompson.

Bennett's sister, Kathi, was the women's coach at Indiana for five years. Her last season was 2004-05 when Greenspan was the athletic director.

Senior writer Andy Katz covers college basketball for ESPN.com.

Andy Katz | email

Senior Writer, ESPN.com

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