West Chester hires Benn as head coach, just the fourth in program's long history
WEST CHESTER, Pa. -- West Chester athletic director Dr. Edward Matejkovic announced the hiring of Michael Benn as the new men’s head coach Monday morning.
Benn becomes just the fourth mentor in the 85-year history of West Chester men’s soccer program, which dates to 1928. He comes to West Chester from Lehigh, where he spent the previous seven seasons as an assistant under WCU alum Dean Koski.
"I would like to thank Dr. Matjekovic and the search committee for believing in my vision for West Chester University men's soccer,” Benn said. “I am both honored and humbled to be the men's soccer head coach at West Chester University.
“I am excited to work with the current student-athletes, the athletic department and our alumni in making the men's soccer program one of the best at West Chester, in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference and in the country. I look forward to bringing my experience and knowledge to West Chester University."
A former National Soccer Coaches’ Association of America regional assistant coach of the year, Benn brings 17 years of coaching experience at the NCAA Division I level to West Chester, including two and a half years as head coach at East Carolina University.
“Michael has a great coaching background and comes from a very successful program at Lehigh that recruits high-level, academically qualified student-athletes,” Matejkovic said. “I believe he will move this program to the level of success we have come to expect at West Chester University.”
Benn became the first full-time assistant head coach at Lehigh in July 2005, eventually working his way up to the title of associate head coach in January 2007. Since then, he has helped tutor three Patriot League defensive player of the year recipients (2009-11) and one conference goalkeeper of the year (2011). Two former student-athletes have been named to the Hermann Trophy watch list, and Benn has coached 20 All-Patriot League players and eight Mid-Atlantic Region players.
Additionally, 21 players have been named to the Patriot League Academic Honor Roll under his watch while the Lehigh men’s soccer program has received NSCAA team academic awards in each of the past three seasons.
“As a head coach, [Benn’s departure] will be a tremendous loss to Lehigh soccer and the Lehigh community,” Koski said. “As an alumnus of West Chester University, however, I could not be more happy and proud that Michael Benn will lead the men’s soccer program.
“[Benn’s] passion for the game of soccer, higher education and teaching is what sets him apart. I’ve known Michael since he was 15 years old, recruited him to play at Lehigh and eventually made him my team captain. I look forward to watching him continue West Chester’s proud soccer tradition.”
Benn inherits a program that went 8-8-2 overall last fall, finished second in the PSAC standings, and reached the conference semifinals of the postseason tournament. It was West Chester’s first playoff appearance since 2007 and marked the first time that the program finished at least .500 since 2008.