By Chad Bonham
In a thrilling overtime contest, the University of Virginia outlasted surprise national finalist Texas Tech, 85-77, for its first ever NCAA men’s college basketball championship. The Cavaliers were led by guards De’Andre Hunter and Kyle Guy who tallied 27 and 24 points respectively.
It was an amazing turnaround from the previous season when Virginia suffered a historic first round loss to #16 seed UMBC.
Following the game, head coach Tony Bennett told Jim Nantz from CBS Sports that the Christian song “Hills and Valleys” by Tauren Wells provided personal inspiration throughout the season.
“And I do want to thank the Lord and my Savior,” he added.
Those words were not surprising to those who have followed Bennett’s stellar career. In a previous CSJ conversation, he gave a clue about how he might handle such an exhilarating moment should it materialize in the future.
“My faith is important to me, but if it truly matters it’s got to play out in my career and my profession,” Bennett said. “That’s why we have five biblical principles that guide our program: passion, thankfulness, unity, servanthood, and humility… In some ways, humility flies in the face of culture but the example of Christ and these biblical principles have stood the test of time.”
And as his dad, the legendary Coach Dick Bennett, has often reminded him in the highs (like winning the national title) and in the lows (like losing as a #1 seed in the first round), “Don’t be so humble. You’re not that great.”
Photos courtesy of University of Virginia men’s basketball