Randy Bennett gets new 10-year deal

Updated: August 19, 2011, 6:16 PM ET
By Andy Katz | ESPN.com

Saint Mary's has signed coach Randy Bennett to a new 10-year deal, the school announced Friday.

Bennett has been at the school since 2001 and coached the Gaels to three NCAA tournament appearances, including a Sweet 16 in 2010.

Bennett has also led the Gaels to two NIT appearances and a first-place finish in the WCC.

"Randy clearly embodies what Saint Mary's College is all about," athletic director Mark Orr said in a statement. "He is, obviously, an excellent basketball coach with a track record of competitive success and he has led our program to unparalleled achievement. But, he is also a valued and respected leader on campus, an impactful mentor of our student-athletes and a committed member of the community. I'm thrilled that we are able to sign him to this long-term agreement and look forward to him leading Saint Mary's basketball for the next decade."

Saint Mary's has become Gonzaga's chief rival in the WCC during Bennett's tenure. The move to retain Bennett comes at a key point as BYU joins the WCC this season.

Bennett interviewed for the vacant Utah job last spring but withdrew. He has spurned other offers to pursue jobs.

"I'm really thankful to Mark Orr, Brother President Ronald Gallagher and the Saint Mary's administration for their support and for providing me the opportunity to continue to serve such a great institution," Bennett said in a statement. "We've had great players and assistant coaches who have put a lot of effort into building the program to a level where we can maintain success and continue to build on it. We have great student-athletes, a supportive administration and enthusiastic student and community support for our program. My family and I enjoy being at Saint Mary's and living in such a supportive and positive community."

Keeping Bennett is a key move for the Gaels to maintain stability at a time when the WCC has gotten stronger.

Andy Katz is a senior college basketball writer for ESPN.com.

Andy Katz | email

Senior Writer, ESPN.com