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Washington State coach Tony Bennett hired by Virginia

Bennett, 68-30 in three seasons with the Cougars, will replace Dave Leitao, who resigned after Virginia's worst season in 41 years.

March 31, 2009|Associated Press

Washington State Coach Tony Bennett, who led the Cougars into the postseason in each of his three years at the school, has been hired to revive a Virginia basketball program that just posted its worst record in more than 40 years.

Jim Sterk, athletic director at Washington State, announced the move Monday evening. Bennett replaces Dave Leitao, who resigned after four seasons.

Bennett, 39, posted a 68-30 record in three seasons with the Cougars. His first two teams made the NCAA tournament and posted consecutive 26-win seasons, but this season's squad was eliminated in the first round of the NIT. He was Associated Press coach of the year in 2007.

Leitao resigned after the Cavaliers finished 10-18 this season, their poorest showing since they were 9-17 in 1967-68. Leitao was 63-60 in four years.

Kentucky pursuing Memphis' Calipari

The University of Memphis gave Kentucky permission to speak to John Calipari about the Wildcats' head coaching position, then made a final push to try to keep the coach.

Some of Memphis' key boosters met with Calipari on Monday. Calipari met with Tigers players Monday morning.

Kentucky fired Billy Gillispie on Friday after two disappointing seasons.

Kentucky spokesman DeWayne Peevy would not confirm or deny an ESPN report that Wildcats officials had already met with Calipari and were prepared to offer him the job. ESPN.com reported the offer was believed to be for eight years and around $35 million.

Etc.

DaJuan Summers, Georgetown's leading scorer this season, said he was skipping his senior year and declaring himself available for the NBA draft. Summers, who averaged 13.6 points a game as a junior, is "in the process of choosing an agent," Hoyas Coach John Thompson III said. . . . Florida guard Nick Calathes said he has decided to enter the NBA draft but will not hire an agent so he can keep open the possibility of returning to school next season. . . . Forwards Blake Griffin of Oklahoma and Tyler Hansbrough of North Carolina were named to the Associated Press' All-America team. Joining them on the first team were sophomore forward DeJuan Blair of Pittsburgh, sophomore guard James Harden of Arizona State and junior guard Stephen Curry of Davidson.

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