Green Bay basketball fans anxiously await NCAA Tournament Championship game

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) -- The Green Bay basketball community is anxious Monday night heading into the NCAA Tournament Championship game.

University of Virginia head coach Tony Bennett, a Green Bay native, is leading the Cavaliers against the Red Raiders of Texas Tech.

This is a significant feat for Bennett, because this is the Cavaliers first-ever tournament championship game.

Bennett has been with Virginia for 10 years, but his passion for the game started in northeast Wisconsin.

During his senior year at Green Bay Preble High School in 1988, the team went to the state tournament and he was named "Player of the Year."

His jersey and legacy are still showcased at the high school.

“I think Tony's values and the things he believes in are pretty deeply rooted in his program and how he carries himself with his team, and that shows. I can't say enough about how proud we are about him being an alumni and how we're looking forward to a great game tonight,” said Dan Retzki, athletic director and associate principal at Preble High School.

After high school, Bennett went on to join the men's Phoenix at UW-Green Bay where his dad, Dick Bennett, was the head basketball coach.

When you walk into the Kress Events Center, it’s hard to miss the Bennett name. Both led the team to its first NCAA tournament in 1991.

Those who witnessed the dynamic between Tony and his dad on the court say they pushed the limits.

“Coach Bennett expected a lot out of Tony -- and I think he would admit that he expected a lot more out of Tony -- and it was a pretty exciting and pretty interesting relationship where they were back and forth and Dick wanted just the absolute best for him,” said Tim Helein, facilities manager at UW-Green Bay.

Alumni and other Phoenix fans will be watching the game Monday at the Pump Room Bar on Webster Ave. in Allouez.