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Report: UCLA Pursuing Tony Bennett

Supposedly he hasn’t said no but it’s hard to see him leaving brilliant success at Virginia to wrestle the mess at UCLA into submission.

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NCAA Basketball: Virginia at Notre Dame
Jan 26, 2019; South Bend, IN, USA; Virginia Cavaliers head coach Tony Bennett signals from the sidelines in the first half against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at the Purcell Pavilion.
Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

This shouldn’t surprise anyone but after firing Steve Alford, UCLA is apparently hot after Virginia’s Tony Bennett. It seems unlikely and a bad fit in several ways.

  • UCLA fans. They're notoriously impatient. Most UCLA coaches don’t last too long.
  • John Wooden. Who can compete with Wooden?
  • Ben Howland. He made three Final Fours and was run out of town, partly for a boring style. It’s hard to imagine Bennett’s low-scoring style being embraced in LA.
  • LA. Bennett seems like a low-key personality who would be a poor fit in Los Angeles.
  • Success at Virginia. He’s built a monster in Charlottesville and it doesn’t look to slow down anytime soon. He's a beloved figure. Why would he give all that up?
  • The PAC-12. We could be wrong here but Bennett would be moving from the top of the nation’s best conference to the middle or bottom of the PAC-12, a conference so dysfunctional that it can’t even get its TV contracts straightened out.
  • Charter flights. Road trips in the PAC-12 are very, very long and UCLA, for whatever reason, doesn’t charter planes, taking commercial instead. Recently UCLA was sitting around an airport after being bumped from a flight. That’s fairly bush league.
  • Income. Bennett’s taxes will go up sharply if he moves to California.
  • Who’s going to be his boss? UCLA A.D. Dan Guerrero is rumored to be retiring fairly soon. Who would take a job like UCLA’s without knowing who his boss is going to be?

It’s possible that UCLA could tempt Bennett with massive amounts of money but it just seems unlikely that he’d leave his own brilliant creation to wrestle with all the challenges that UCLA, the PAC-12 and Los Angeles present.

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