5 Biblical pillars Tony Bennett used to build Virginia’s Final Four team

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COLUMBIA, SOUTH CAROLINA - MARCH 22: Head coach Tony Bennett of the Virginia Cavaliers gestures in the first half against the Gardner Webb Runnin Bulldogs during the first round of the 2019 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Colonial Life Arena on March 22, 2019 in Columbia, South Carolina. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

MINNEAPOLIS — University of Virginia Head Coach Tony Bennett is a man of faith. When asked the Friday before the Final Four how his faith in Christ helps him prepare his team to play, Coach Bennett explained how he used the Bible to build his team.

“Our program is built on pillars, five – they’re actually biblical pillars, and whether our guys — I’m always respectful, whether they believe that or not, their wisdom for our program, humility, do you know who you are as a team and as a player? Passion, do you play with passion? Unity, being part of something bigger than yourself. Servanthood, the way to greatness is through being a servant. And thankfulness. We use those for our team specifically,” Bennett explained. “You always hope that through sports they become better players and young men, and they’ll always return what you just model to them.”

Bennett pointed to senior center Jack Salt as an example of the pillars in action. When Salt’s minutes played diminished as the team’s needs shifted, Salt showed servanthood, Bennett said.

“I remember talking to him, and he said, ‘Coach I just want to advance. Whatever you think is best. Yeah, it’s hard to not play, but whatever is best for the team,'” Bennett shared. “That’s why this program is so good. We have guys — that embody our pillar of servanthood. Make others better. Know your role, make others better. He embodies that. He has been the glue.”

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