Bennett is Coach of the Year

The 37-year-old Bennett, who succeeded his father, Dick, this season at Washington State, is the second coach to win the award after his first season as a head coach, joining Bill Hodges of Indiana State in 1979.

The Cougars, who were picked ninth in the Pac-Ten preseason poll, finished 26-and-8, were second to U-C-L-A in the conference and lost in the second round of the N-C-A-A tournament. It was their first tourney appearance since 1994 and the fifth in school history.

Bennett received 40 votes from the 72-member national media panel that selects the weekly Top 25. Thad Matta (MAH'-tuh) of Ohio State and Billy Gillispie of Texas A-and-M each received ten votes, while Bo Ryan of Wisconsin got seven.

Bennett is the first Washington State coach to win the award, which was first presented in 1967.


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