TACOMA, Wash. -- Puget Sound on Monday announced the hiring of Aaron Benson as head coach of the men’s and women’s crew programs. Benson comes with nearly a decade of collegiate coaching experience.

“I am thrilled to join Puget Sound, and to return home to the Northwest. Rowing has a strong tradition in the region, and the Logger crew program has played an important role in that history,” Benson said. “The school, staff and student-athletes are all of the highest caliber, and I look forward to working with them to build a vibrant future for the team.”

Most recently, Benson has spent seven years as an assistant on the women’s rowing team at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He has helped turn around the women’s program at MIT with a strong recruiting effort that has increased the depth and talent of the Engineers.

Although Benson will come to Puget Sound from Cambridge, Mass., he is no stranger to the Northwest. Benson is a native of Seattle, where he began his passion for rowing at the Pocock Rowing Center. He attended Willamette, where he rowed for four years.

“Aaron is a great addition to our program, bringing a wealth of experience, a strong understanding and appreciation for Pacific Northwest rowing and an eagerness to continue to raise the competitive profile of our men’s and women’s rowing programs,” director of athletics Amy Hackett said.

In addition to his duties at MIT, Benson served as the director of the US Rowing Boston Development Camp, which placed multiple boats in the Grand Finals of the USRowing Club National Championships.

“When the University of Puget Sound’s rowing position opened up, and the job description was posted, there was a match made in heaven if you will,” said Holly Metcalf, MIT’s women’s openweight crew head coach. “Aaron Benson has the vision, the energy, the patience, and the competence to bring this program to the next level.”

Prior to his arrival at MIT, Benson was an assistant coach at Ithaca. While at Ithaca, he helped lead the Bombers’ women’s crew team to back-to-back NCAA Division III national championships in 2004 and 2005.

Benson holds a Bachelor’s degree in exercise science from Willamette and a Master’s degree in Exercise Physiology from Ithaca. He also has a Level III USRowing certification and is a NSCA Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist.

Benson will officially begin at Puget Sound on August 13. The Loggers women’s squad made a 10th consecutive appearance at the NCAA Championships in 2012 as the representative of the Pacific region while a youthful men’s squad showed substantial growth throughout the season.