The Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association has named Virginia head coach Tony Bennett the 2013-14 ACC Coach of the Year.
Bennett, now in his fifth year as head coach of the Cavaliers, led Virginia to a 25-6 record and their first regular-season conference title since 1981. Their 16 ACC wins tied the conference record for league wins in a season.
This is the third straight year Virginia has earned a winning conference record and 20 overall wins. They also set school records with 13 consecutive wins and 12 ACC wins by 10 or more points.
Bennett became just the fourth head coach of Virginia to earn ACC Coach of the Year honors, joining Bill Gibson (1972), Terry Holland (1981, 1982) and Dave Leitao (2007). He won the honor by a wide margin receiving 68 votes. North Carolina’s Roy Williams was second with six. Jamie Dixon, Brad Brownell, and Jim Larranaga also received votes.
Bennett is now a top-10 finalist for the U.S. Basketball Writers Association Coach of the Year award as well. He previously earned that award as head coach of Washington State in the 2006-07 season.
Virginia’s success this season was due in large part to its defense as they allowed an ACC-low 55.4 points per game. They were able to rise up the conference standings thanks to their 13-game winning streak in which they beat North Carolina, Pittsburgh and Syracuse among others. That winning streak came to an end on Sunday in an overtime loss at Maryland.
Virginia will enter the ACC tournament as the No. 1 seed giving them a bye into the quarterfinals. They will play the winner of No. 8 Maryland and No. 9 Florida State on Friday at noon.