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BREAKING NEWS: Tony Bennett is one of the best coaches in college basketball. 

Ok, maybe that's not breaking news, especially not to UVA fans, who have known this for years now. 

But, it's always nice to see the University of Virginia's own Tony Bennett getting the national recognition he deserves. 

Dana O'Neil and Brian Hamilton of The Athletic went through the painstaking and unrewarding process of organizing college basketball's coaches into tiers in a piece called, Men's College Basketball Coaching Tiers 2022: Who is now on top in the sport?

O'Neil and Hamilton sought out several sources around college basketball - "from search firms to agencies to those involved in the game" - to determine who were the best coaches in the sport. Only current Division I coaches who have already coached a full season were eligible and all major conference coaches were considered along with any non-major conference coach who had led his team to an NCAA Tournament appearance or a regular season conference championship in the last three seasons. 

We're satisfied with the results. 

The Athletic put eight coaches in 'Tier 1' of the best of the best in college basketball. And rightfully at the top of that list - although the top eight were evidently organized alphabetically by last name - was Tony Bennett. 

The Athletic Tier 1

Virginia's head coach was joined in The Athletic's Tier 1 by Kentucky's John Calipari, Baylor's Scott Drew, Gonzaga's Mark Few, Michigan State's Tom Izzo, Iona's Rick Pitino, Houston's Kelvin Sampson, and Kansas' Bill Self. 

Here's what O'Neil and Hamilton wrote about Tony Bennett's inclusion in Tier 1 as one of college basketball's top eight coaches:

"Gonzaga, Houston, Baylor, and Virginia are places where basketball expectations never consistently existed until their coaches came along and created them.

"Similarly, the Ralph Sampson wonder years were a minute ago when Tony Bennett arrived at Virginia. He brought a pack-line defensive scheme as the great equalizer for the Cavaliers in the competitive ACC. People hated it, and carped Bennett would never win in March with it, especially after he lost to UMBC. His answer? A national title the next year."

In case you need a reminder, here is Tony Bennett's coaching resume:

  • three-time Henry Iba Award winner 
  • two-time Naismith College Coach of the Year
  • two-time AP National Coach of the Year
  • four-time ACC Coach of the Year
  • 2018 NABC Coach of the Year
  • five ACC regular season championships
  • two ACC Tournament championships
  • 2019 Final Four
  • 2019 National Championship

Personally, we'd have Tony Bennett in a tier of his own at the top of the college basketball world. But, we'll settle for The Athletic's Tier 1. 

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