Dick Bennett offers lots of insight

DICK BENNETT, THE man who built the foundation that his son used as a springboard to the ACC, tells the Washington Post that Tony and his wife Laurel struggled with the decision to leave Pullman and that, metaphorically speaking, "it was a 60-58 ballgame" on whether to bolt for Virgina.

The elder Bennett told the Post he had five conversations with Tony over the weekend but that as late as Monday morning he didn't know where his son was leaning.

"It was a 60-58 ballgame," Dick said. "My last comment to him was, 'Tony, you're in a win-win situation.'"

Dick Bennett told the Post he doesn't know "what tipped the scales."

WSU AD Jim Sterk told reporters Monday night that Tony and Laurel had "sleepless nights" weighing the decision but the appeal of the ACC and Virgina's new arena were important factors.

The elder Bennett told Bud Withers of the Seattle Times that there were other factors involved as well. "It's like Stanford in its academic demands," Dick said of Virgina. "And he (Tony) felt he would have a bigger recruiting base. I think the travel [at WSU] was hard, too. There's so much travel."

As for timing, "He's been there (WSU) six years, three years as a head coach," Dick told the Washington Post. "There were seven freshmen, some good freshmen coming in. It's a good time for someone to go in there, to put his own stamp on it. Tony felt a lot better" leaving Washington State after this past season, the Post quoted Dick Bennett as saying.

To read the Post's complete story, which offers broad perspective, click to http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/03/31/AR2009033101787.html

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