University of Virginia basketball coach Tony Bennett has earned my deepest gratitude, admiration, and respect.

He has already served 10 brilliantly successful years as coach, including winning the NCAA national championship this year. His recent decision to continue his contract for another year while declining the opportunity for an increase in his salary is certainly evidence of a gentleman who truly cares about his student-athletes and this university. He chooses, instead, for that money to be shared with other coaches and programs in UVa’s athletic department. 

That contract decision alone is exemplary, but there is more.  Coach Bennett and his wife, Laurel, also have pledged half a million dollars to a career development program for current and former UVa players that benefits them beyond their role as athletes. The program offers them assessments, workshops, and activities to help prepare them for life after graduation or after a professional career in sports.

Coach Bennett, your leadership and generosity truly make you a hero and a role model for this community and the nation. Thank you!

Jeannine “JJ” Towler

Albemarle County

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