- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Winning is at a premium in college basketball this time of year, and for Virginia coach Tony Bennett, the stakes have never been higher.

Bennett already has collected $100,000 in bonuses by helping the Cavaliers reach the Sweet 16, according to a Forbes report. With money still on the table, Bennett has the potential to earn a total of $1 million in bonuses in this year’s tournament.

If the Cavaliers are able to defeat Michigan State on Friday and reach the Elite Eight, Bennett would get a bonus of $250,000. Another win would push the Cavaliers to the Final Four, netting another $250,000 in bonus money for Bennett.

While reaching the title game won’t net Bennett any additional cash, bringing home the championship would earn $400,000 more in bonus money — which is more than nine coaches’ potential total winnings in the 2014 tournament.

Since taking over at Virginia in 2009, Bennett holds a 106-59 record in the regular season. This season, Bennett led the Cavaliers to their second outright regular season title as well as the ACC conference tournament championship — which earned him $100,000.

The coach for the East bracket No. 1 seed has a base salary of $1.78 million, and earned an additional $50,000 for being named the ACC Coach of the Year.

Of the other coaches in the Sweet 16, Arizona coach Sean Miller ranks behind Bennett, with a potential bonus of $675,000 — which includes $375,000 for winning the title game. Kentucky’s John Calipari also holds the same $375,000 bonus for bringing home another title, with potential earnings sitting at $650,000.

By appearing in this season’s title game, Wisconsin’s Bo Ryan would receive a $100,000 bonus, with Fred Hoiberg of Iowa State and John Beilein of Michigan would get $25,000 for the same feat. San Diego State’s Steve Fisher would get a bonus of $10,000 for reaching this year’s title game, but will not get a bonus if the Aztecs bring home the championship.

Billy Donovan, coach of the No. 1 overall seed Florida Gators, has earned $112,500 for reaching the Sweet 16. Donovan is slated for $250,000 in bonus earnings if he is able to lead his team to another national championship, according to Forbes.

The coach of Virginia’s opponent Friday, Michigan State’s Tom Izzo, has earned $50,000 up to this point in the tournament. While advancing to the Elite Eight wouldn’t kick in any bonus money, a trip to the Final Four — which the Spartans have accomplished six times under Izzo — would land $100,000 for the Big Ten’s longest-tenured coach. If Izzo is able to capture his second national title, he would earn an additional $150,000.

The only coaches who received any bonus compensation for appearing in the round of 32 were Hoiberg, Beilein and Fisher. Each coach in the field earned a bonus for making the Sweet 16, with the bonus total ranging from $100,000 (Bennett and Calipari) to $10,000 (Fisher).

Fisher also holds the lowest potential bonus total for the entire tournament at $120,000 — which is less than four coaches would receive for appearing in the Final Four.

With the most money riding on potential bonuses, Bennett edges out other 12 coaches listed by Forbes. Contract details were unavailable for Dayton, Stanford and Baylor, which are private universities.

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