Virginia men’s basketball Coach Tony Bennett is often recognized in the college basketball realm for his achievements. He’s a three-time National Coach of the Year and a four-time ACC Coach of the Year, as well as the first coach to lead the team to a National Championship. Bennett also earned recognition in a larger context as he was named to Fortune Magazine’s list of World’s Greatest Leaders April 18.
“Our sixth annual leaders list is the home of the brave,” Fortune Magazine wrote. “These thinkers, speakers, and doers make bold choices and take big risks — and move others to do the same.”
Bennett placed at No. 48 in the rankings, which also featured leaders like Bill and Melinda Gates, Michael J. Fox, Jordan Peele and many more. The story on Bennett focused on his ability to lead Virginia from last year’s historic NCAA Tournament loss all the way to a National Championship the next season.
“That the Cavaliers ascended from humiliation to celebration is a testament to Bennett’s coaching skills,” the story reads. “Inheriting a program that attracts relatively few stars, Bennett built a contender by stressing passing and disciplined, stifling defense. And after last year’s defeat, Bennett gave his players leeway to talk openly about the frustration of losing, the better to motivate themselves and one another.”
This award is another in a long list of praises Bennett has received over the years from his players and staff, who attest to the impact he’s made.
"To be the team that gets [Bennett] to the Final Four, I think that's what means the most,” junior guard Ty Jerome said after the Cavaliers’ Elite Eight win over Purdue. “He's believed in every single one of us. He has our best interest at heart, on and off the court. And he's a great person."
Assistant coach Brad Soderberg also had high remarks to make about Bennett at the end of the season.
"If you make a list of the 10 things every coach has to have to some degree — [for example] they've got to be recruiters, they have to have an on-court disposition, they have to have great Xs and Os knowledge, they have to have a story to tell,” Soderberg said after the NCAA Tournament final. “Tony [Bennett] is A-plus, A-plus, A-plus, A-plus.”