Tony Bennett - 50 Most influential leaders

Join in the celebration of 50 years of Green Bay athletics

Dick and Tony Bennett are first named to  ‘Most Influencial’ list

The year 2015 marked the 50-year anniversary of UW-Green Bay. Four years later, campus and community is celebrating 50 years of Green Bay Athletics. The Athletics program was first established in 1969 competing at the NAIA and Division II levels before joining Division I collegiate athletics in 1980.

To celebrate and recognize the prominent figures that have helped shape the program into what it is today—a competitive Division I program producing exceptional students and athletes—Athletics is releasing a list of the “Top 50 Most Influential Leaders in Green Bay Athletics History.” This list was comprised with input from past and present administrators, staff, coaches, student-athletes, University communications staff and community members.

In order to be selected, the individual must have, in some way, helped change the trajectory of Athletics, shaped the brand of the program, set a standard for excellence, or provided a key investment that positively changed the program. Influential leaders will be released each week throughout the academic year in a non-ranked alphabetical order.

On Sept. 5, the first member of this group was announced, former Green Bay men’s basketball Head Coach Dick Bennett. Bennett was foundational in cementing UW-Green Bay as one of the premier Division I programs in the country. He coached the team from 1985-1999 while leading the Phoenix to three NCAA Division I tournament appearances, including the University’s only trip to the second round in 1994.

Coach Dick Bennett’s son, Tony Bennett, was the second individual announced on Sept. 13. Tony Bennett was a player for the University from 1989-1992 before becoming a second-round NBA draft pick. Currently, UW-Green Bay remains in the national spotlight every year thanks to Tony Bennett’s success coaching the Virginia Cavaliers, who won the Division I Men’s College Basketball National Championship in 2019.

In addition to the Top 50 list, there are a number of significant events planned throughout the year to celebrate the 50th anniversary of UW-Green Bay Athletics:

The 50th Fall Kickoff Barbecue, takes place on Saturday, Oct. 5 at Aldo Santaga Stadium, when men’s soccer hosts Cleveland State at 7 p.m. Prior to the game, there will be a tailgate with live music, food, and beer beginning at 5:30 p.m, followed by a brief address from Director of Athletics Charles Guthrie at 6:30 p.m. All former athletes, coaches and staff will be invited, including the 50th anniversary team from the 1969-1970 inaugural season, who will be recognized during halftime of the game.