WSU basketball coach gets $200,000 raise

PULLMAN — Washington State University men’s basketball coach Tony Bennett has received a $200,000 pay raise that will guarantee him $1 million a year, the school said Thursday.

It’s a reward for becoming the first coach in team history to go to consecutive NCAA basketball tournaments, and for more than doubling attendance at Friel Court.

Bennett was courted by several powerhouse programs after winning 26 games in each of his first two seasons at the helm, tying the school record each time.

His amended contract, completed Wednesday, was extended through 2015, athletic spokesman Bill Stevens said.

Despite the pay, Bennett may remain a relative bargain as he has reinvigorated a losing program. An average of 9,200 fans per game packed Friel Court this season, fourth-highest in the Pacific 10. The Cougars also enjoyed plenty of television exposure, and advanced for the first time to the Round of 16 in the NCAA tournament before losing to North Carolina.

Bennett, 38, was an assistant to his father, Dick, for three years at WSU before taking over two years ago.

Under the new deal, Washington State raised Bennett’s collateral compensation from $400,000 to $600,000. That, combined with a base salary of $200,000 and another $200,000 annually for each year he stays, brought him to $1 million pay for next season, the school said.

Most coaches in the Pac-10 are making more than $1 million, but operate in much larger markets than Pullman.

Tony Bennett made $350,000 in his first season as head coach. After he led WSU to a 26-8 mark, he was given a three-year extension to seven years and a raise to $800,000 annually.

Last season, WSU went 26-9 and Bennett’s 52 victories tied him for fourth among Cougars coaches after two years.

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