• Tony Benford Finally Comes Out On Top *updated*

    After being the runner-up for jobs like SMU, USC and a host of others over the last few years, Marquette Associate Head Coach Tony Benford has been named the new Head Coach of the University of North Texas Mean Green. Benford beat out former New Mexico coach and ESPN analyst Fran Fraschilla for the job. Benford was a key in Marquette's back-to-back Sweet 16 appearances.

    Benford takes the Mean Green after Head Coach Johnny Jones who left for the LSU job. Jones had coached North Texas for 11 seasons, where he led the Mean Green to two NCAA tournament appearances .

    "I couldn't be more excited about the opportunity of taking over the basketball program at North Texas," Benford said in a school statement. "I would like to thank Rick Villarreal and President V. Lane Rawlins for this opportunity, and Johnny Jones for doing such a great job in making North Texas a winner. My philosophy is all about the players, and we will do everything to ensure that our players grow in the classroom, the community and on the court."

    In his time at Marquette, Benford was a key in building recruiting classes that ranked in the top 25 in the country, including one class, that was tabbed as the number one class in the country. Benford was the key recruiter for many recruits, including current players Junior Cadougan, Jamil Wilson, Vander Blue, Juan Anderson and future Golden Eagles TJ Taylor, Steve Taylor, Duane Wilson and Deonte Burton.

    Marquette Head Coach Buzz Williams couldn't be happier for Benford, "I am absolutely thrilled for Tony! He is more than deserving of this opportunity, and is walking into an area of the country where he will be able to have immediate success. We will forever be grateful for Tony’s daily investment in our program during his tenure here. He has made an incredible impact, on and off the floor. I am saddened that I will not be able to see him every day, but incredibly excited to watch the rest of his career unfold.”

    In his press conference at North Texas, Benford thanked Buzz Williams and his Marquette family. "I want to thank Coach Williams and my family at Marquette. I really appreciate the support they have given me the last four years. Buzz is a great guy. I was the second person he hired there, we had a lot of success and recruited some great players. Its a great program. If it wasn't for the success and Buzz having the faith in me to name me Associate Head Coach, I wouldn't be in this position, so I owe a lot to Buzz Williams and appreciate Buzz Williams."

    Benford has 20 years of coaching experience at the Division 1 level. Prior to coming to Marquette, Benford's previous coaching stops included Nebraska (2 years), Arizona State (8 years) and New Mexico (6 years). He was the Associate Head Coach his last two years with Arizona State.

    Benford played college ball for Texas Tech and helped the Red Raiders to two Southwest Conference Tourney titles and one regular-season championship. His senior year he was an all-conference pick league tournament most valuable player.

    Best of luck to Tony and his family from all of us at Brew City Ball.