NCCAA Regional Coach of the Year (2008, 2010)
NAIA Region VII Tournament (2008)
CCAC Tournament Championship (2008)
NCCAA North Central Regional Champions (2010)
NCCAA World Series participant (2010)
Program best 39 wins (2010)
Program best 20 CCAC wins (2009, 2010)
Program best 9-game winning streak (2008)
Completely redefining the meaning of what it means to be a Judson University baseball player, Rich Benjamin has laid a foundation for years to come. Entering his fourth year, Benjamin needs just 21 wins to become the all-time wins leader for Judson as he has 87 wins in three years.
The 2010 season was another successful year for Judson under Benjamin as he guided them to a program best 39 wins while also receiving votes in the NAIA National Poll. Along the way, his team broke 10 Judson offensive records that were set the year before. His team also made an appearance at the NCCAA World Series as the #4 seed while winning the program's second NCCAA North Central Regional Championship.
Breaking new ground for the program, Judson played their first-ever games in February in the Metrodome in Minnesota. Prior to the Benjamin era, no team had ever played in February and the 2010 team played eight games on their way to a 60-game schedule with post season. Benjamin has now guided Judson to their first-ever back-to-back winning seasons with 30 or more wins.
His first two seasons generated a buzz as Judson won their first-ever CCAC Tournament and made their first appearance in the NAIA Regional Tournament (which has now been replaced with NAIA opening round) in 2008. He topped those statistics in 2009 as his team won a then program best 30 games and finished third in the CCAC.
In only his second season as a head coach, Benjamin won a program best 20 CCAC games and 30 overall games, broke nine Judson records, and finished third in the CCAC. Judson also went on a run in April (April 4-22) where they won 13 out of 15 games played. He had three players named All-CCAC with one earning a gold glove award. Judson won at least one game in every series and took three games from Trinity Christian, Trinity International, and Robert Morris.
The 2008 season brought lots of excitement to the program. After starting off 1-13, Judson won nine straight games to tie the school record, defeated two nationally ranked programs, and won a game over St. Xavier University for the first time in program history. They then claimed the CCAC Tournament Championship, received an at-large bid to the NAIA Region VII Tournament, and finished with a #5 ranking in the NAIA Region VII poll. Freshman Oscar DePablos, who broke the single game record for hits in a game, who was named the CCAC Freshman of the Year andBenjamin was named the NCCAA North Central Region Coach of the Year.
Judson's Director of Athletics Nancy Binger said of Benjamin when hired in October 2007, "We are very pleased to add Rich to our staff. He is coming from a solid CCAC program and it will be beneficial that he knows the conference and the level of play. I expect that he will continue to move the baseball program in the right direction. He is definitely ready to be a head coach at this level and I am glad he is getting his chance at Judson."
Benjamin is not unfamiliar with the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference as he was an assistant coach at Olivet Nazarene University for three seasons. In those three seasons, ONU went 93-49-1 and had a 44-16 record in the CCAC. At ONU, he was a part of the 2005 CCAC regular season championship team that went 17-3 and had an overall record of 40-12. They also finished as the NAIA Region VII runners-up. In all three seasons at ONU, the Tigers won more than 25 games each year and had 10 or more wins in the CCAC.
Benjamin says, "I am honored to be named the head baseball coach at Judson. I have been praying for a place to go too to become a head coach. I am looking forward to moving the Judson baseball program to the next level. Judson is a great place to coach and everybody has been friendly to me from the beginning of the interview process."
As the pitching coach at ONU, he helped mold a pitching staff that was one of the best in the CCAC and the nation. In 2005, the ONU pitching staff had a 3.00 ERA and three to one strikeout to walk ratio. In 2006, his pitchers recorded three shutouts and in 2007 they had a 4.71 ERA. In the 2005 season, three pitchers had undefeated records with one at a 9-0 record. He also had the chance to coach under one of the winningest NAIA baseball coaches in Elliot Johnson. Johnson won his 800th career game in the 2007 season at Olivet.
Prior to Olivet, Benjamin was a student assistant coach at Martin Methodist University in Tennessee. In the 2003 season he helped guide the Hawks to a 37-12 record and to the Trans South and NAIA Region XI championship games. A MMC, he was the hitting, catching and outfielder coach.
Building his coaching skills at camps, Benjamin has worked at several baseball camps. He has been a camp coach at two NCAA Division I programs in Vanderbilt University and the University of Notre Dame. He has also coached at Camp Winadu in Massachusetts as the assistant director of baseball operations.
In two different summers, he has coached in the M.I.N.K. Collegiate Summer Baseball League and the Sandlot Collegiate Summer League. In 2007, he was a part of the M.I.N.K. which is affiliated with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. He coached the FCA Grays in Kansas City, Mo., as they won 21 games and was the most wins in team history. The 2005 summer took him to Nashville, Tenn., where he was the pitching coach for the Twitty City Stars.
Benjamin started his collegiate career as a player at Milligan College for two years and then finished his final two years at Martin Methodist. He graduated from Martin Methodist in 2004 with a degree in English. In 2008, he earned his Master's of Organizational Leadership at Olivet Nazarene University. He is married to his high school sweetheart, Casey.