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Bennett to build Virginia on passion, integrity

Wed., April 1, 2009, 1:33 p.m.

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — Tony Bennett says he plans to rebuild the men’s basketball program at Virginia around two basic principles: passion and integrity.

The 39-year-old Bennett was introduced at a news conference Wednesday, two days after he was a surprise choice to take over a program that went 10-18 under Dave Leitao this season.

Bennett says there are not many opportunities that could have pulled him away from Washington State, where he coached the past three years, but at Virginia “everything is in place” to be winners.

He will be paid $1.7 million per year over the next five years, and receive a signing bonus of $500,000. If he stays for the duration of his contract, he’ll get another $500,000.

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