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Dick Bennett (born April 20, 1943, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States) is an American basketball coach who is best known for revitalizing the Wisconsin Badgers basketball. He is the father of coach Tony Bennett.


Coaching career

Bennett had enormous success at each level of collegiate coaching in Wisconsin. In the mid-1970s, he led Eau Claire Memorial High School to the state title game. In the mid-1980s, he led Stevens Point to an NAIA title game. In the early 1990s he brought UW–Green Bay to its first three NCAA tournament appearances. And in 2000, after five years in Madison, he took the Badgers to the Final Four.

High school

Prior to collegiate coaching, Bennett was a successful high school coach for eleven years, winning 168 games and leading Eau Claire Memorial to a runner-up finish at the State tournament during the 1975-76 season.[1]

UW–Stevens Point

Bennett began his collegiate coaching career at the University of Wisconsin–Stevens Point in 1976, where he won 173 games in nine seasons.[2] He was named NAIA Coach of the Year after leading the 1983-84 squad to a 28-4 record and national runner-up finish. That team featured former NBA All-Star Terry Porter and former Saint Louis University head coach Brad Soderberg. In 2009, the University of Wisconsin–Stevens Point renamed its basketball court Bennett Court to honor both Dick Bennett and his brother Jack Bennett.

UW–Green Bay

In 1985, Bennett moved to the University of Wisconsin–Green Bay. The Phoenix posted a 4-24 record the year before Bennett arrived, but had reached the second round of the NIT tournament by 1990.

Bennett's son Tony became the star of the team during the early 1990s. A guard who played several seasons in the NBA, Tony Bennett led the team to its first NCAA tournament berth in 1991, where the Phoenix lost to Michigan State in the first round. The following year, the UW–GB rolled to a 25-5 and won its first regular season conference title, but lost in the conference tournament. After Tony Bennett's departure in 1992, the 1993-94 team won the conference title and tournament on its way to the NCAA tournament. There, the 12th-seeded Phoenix defeated 5th-ranked California, whose roster included Jason Kidd and Lamond Murray. In Bennett's final year with the Phoenix, his team returned to the NCAA Tournament where they lost to Big Ten champion Purdue.

Wisconsin Badgers

In 1995, Bennett replaced Stan Van Gundy at the University of Wisconsin–Madison as the head coach of the men's basketball team. In Bennett's first year, the Badgers earned a bid in the NIT Tournament. Over the next four seasons Bennett coached Wisconsin to three NCAA tournament appearances including the Final Four (1999-2000). The Badgers had played in a total of three NCAA tournaments in the 97 years before his arrival. Bennett also coached Wisconsin to its first ever 20-win season in 1998-99. Bennett resigned three games into the 2000-2001 season citing burnout—he said he "simply was drained".[3]. During his tenure at Wisconsin he was 94-68 (.580) from 1995-2000.

Washington State Cougars

After two years off, Bennett was hired at Washington State University on March 29, 2003, and retired immediately following the 2005-2006 season, after the Cougars finished last in the Pac-10. His son, Tony Bennett, who was picked to be his successor, took over the team immediately following his retirement[4].

Coaching Awards

1982 Wisconsin State University Conference Coach of the Year
1985 Wisconsin State University Conference Coach of the Year
1985 NAIA District IV Coach of the Year
1985 NAIA Area IV Coach of the Year
1990 Mid-Continent Conference Coach of the Year
1992 Mid-Continent Conference Coach of the Year
1992 NABC District 11 Coach of the Year
1994 Basketball Times Midwest Coach of the Year
1994 NABC District 11 Coach of the Year
[5] 2007 Wisconsin Athletic Hall of Fame


Bennett's teams were known particularly for their defensive prowess. While at Wisconsin his teams led the Big Ten in scoring defense four straight years and finished in the top-five nationally three times.

Bennett recruited players who were willing to place teamwork and discipline ahead of personal statistics. His players excelled in the classroom as well as on the court. While few NBA players emerged from his programs, most of his players have gone on to success in other careers, including coaching.

Background and family

Bennett went to high school in Clintonville, Wisconsin, and graduated from Ripon College. His daughter Kathi Bennett is the former head women's basketball coach at Indiana University. His son Tony Bennett, previously the head assistant coach, was hired as WSU head coach after his father's retirement. His brother Jack Bennett recently retired as head coach at the University of Wisconsin–Stevens Point after winning back-to-back NCAA Division III National Titles in 2004 and 2005. Another brother, Tom Bennett, died of AIDS-related complications at age 38 in January 1996.

Head coaching record

NAIA Division I

Season Team Overall Conference Standing Postseason
UW–Stevens Point (Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference) (1976–1985)
1976–1977 UW–Stevens Point 9-17 4-12 9th
1977–1978 UW–Stevens Point 12-14 8-8 T-5th
1978–1979 UW–Stevens Point 14-12 9-7 T-3rd
1979–1980 UW–Stevens Point 18-10 13-3 2nd
1980–1981 UW–Stevens Point 19-8 11-5 3rd
1981–1982 UW–Stevens Point 22-6 13-3 T-1st
1982–1983 UW–Stevens Point 26-4 15-1 1st NAIA Participant
1983–1984 UW–Stevens Point 28-4 14-2 T-1st NAIA Runner-up
1984–1985 UW–Stevens Point 25-5 14-2 1st NAIA Participant
UW–Stevens Point: 173-80 101-43
Total: 173-80

      National Champion         Conference Regular Season Champion         Conference Tournament Champion
      Conference Regular Season & Conference Tournament Champion       Conference Division Champion

NCAA Division I

Season Team Overall Conference Standing Postseason
UW–Green Bay (Mid-Continent Conference) (1985–1994)
1985–1986 UW–Green Bay 5-23 3-11 T-7th
1986–1987 UW–Green Bay 15-14 8-6 4th
1987–1988 UW–Green Bay 18-9 9-5 3rd
1988–1989 UW–Green Bay 14-14 6-6 4th
1989–1990 UW–Green Bay 24-8 9-3 2nd NIT 2nd Round
1990–1991 UW–Green Bay 24-7 13-3 2nd NCAA 1st Round
1991–1992 UW–Green Bay 25-5 14-2 1st NIT 1st Round
1992–1993 UW–Green Bay 13-14 9-7 T-4th
1993–1994 UW–Green Bay 27-7 15-3 1st NCAA 2nd Round
UW–Green Bay (Midwestern Collegiate Conference) (1994–1995)
1994–1995 UW–Green Bay 22-8 11-4 T-2nd NCAA 1st Round
UW–Green Bay: 187-109 97-50
Wisconsin (Big Ten Conference) (1995–2001)
1995–1996 Wisconsin 17-15 7-9 8th NIT 2nd Round
1996–1997 Wisconsin 18-10 10-6 T-4th NCAA 1st Round
1997–1998 Wisconsin 12-19 3-13 T-9th
1998–1999 Wisconsin 22-10 9-7 T3rd NCAA 1st Round
1999–2000 Wisconsin 22-14 8-8 6th NCAA Final Four
2000–2001 Wisconsin 2-1
Wisconsin: 93-69 37-43
Washington State (Pacific-10 Conference) (2003–2006)
2003–2004 Washington State 13-16 7-11 T-7th
2004–2005 Washington State 12-16 7-11 T-6th
2005–2006 Washington State 11-17 4-14 10th
Washington State: 36-49 18-36
Total: 316-227

      National Champion         Conference Regular Season Champion         Conference Tournament Champion
      Conference Regular Season & Conference Tournament Champion       Conference Division Champion

Notes and references

  1. ^ *Profile at Washington State
  2. ^ "UW–Stevens Point To Honor Bennetts". Retrieved 31 March 2009.  
  3. ^ AP. "Wisconsin's Bennett Steps Down". CBS Sports.  
  4. ^ AP (2006-02-28). "Bennett: First goal met". Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.  
  5. ^ *Profile at Washington State
  6. ^ *[1]
Preceded by
Paul Graham
Washington State Cougars Head Coach
Succeeded by
Tony Bennett

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