Washington State gives Bennett raise, contract extension

Updated: May 1, 2008, 2:41 PM ET
Associated Press

PULLMAN, Wash. -- Washington State coach Tony Bennett received a $200,000 pay raise that will guarantee him $1 million a year.

His amended contract was extended through 2015, athletic spokesman Bill Stevens said Thursday.

Bennett was courted by several powerhouse programs after winning 26 games in each of his two seasons at the helm, tying the school record. He became the first coach in team history to go to consecutive NCAA basketball tournaments. Also, attendance at Friel Court has more than doubled.

Despite the pay, Bennett may remain a relative bargain as he has reinvigorated a losing program. Some 9,200 fans per game packed Friel Court this season, fourth-highest in the Pac-10. The Cougars also enjoyed plenty of television exposure and advanced for the first time to the round of 16 in the NCAA tournament before losing to North Carolina.

The 38-year-old Bennett was an assistant to his father, Dick, for three years at WSU before taking over.

Under the new deal, Washington State raised Bennett's collateral compensation from $400,000 to $600,000. That, combined with a base salary of $200,000 and another $200,000 annually for each year he stays, brought his pay to $1 million for next season, the school said.

Most coaches in the Pac-10 are making more than $1 million but operate in much larger markets than Pullman.

Bennett made $350,000 in his first season as coach. After he led WSU to a 26-8 mark, he was given a three-year extension to seven years and a raise to $800,000 annually.

Last season, WSU went 26-9. Bennett's 52 victories tied him for fourth among Cougars coaches after two years.


Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press