RAPID CITY --- South Dakota
School of Mines football head coach Stacy Collins will be reunited with a familiar
coaching colleagues this fall when former Central Washington head coach Blaine
Bennett joins the Hardrocker football coaching staff as the new wide receivers
coach and pass-game coordinator.
“We are extremely excited to welcome Coach Bennett to the
Hardrocker family,” said Hardrocker football head coach Stacy Collins. “Blaine
has an extensive background in offensive football and has coached and recruited
at the highest levels.”
Collins worked with Bennett
for three years in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference (GNAC) at Central
Washington Univeristy in Ellensburg, Wash., where Bennett was head coach of the
CWU Wildcats. Bennett served as head coach for CWU from 2008-2012 where
he guided Central to four GNAC championships, and finished with a 48-20
record. He also led CWU to two playoff appearances in 2008 and 2009.
Bennett was named GNAC Coach of the Year in 2008, 2009 and 2012
and mentored Wildcat quarterback Mike Reilly to a runner-up finish in the
Harlon Hill Trophy balloting in 2008 as the top Div. II football player in the
“His success and experience in the GNAC as a head coach will
be a great asset to our program,” Collins said. “His knowledge of the league
will be a great advantage for the Hardrockers these next two seasons before our
transition into the (Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference) in 2016.”
Bennett has also been
a voting member of the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) during its
weekly Div. II national polls and has been the AFCA Div. II All-American
coordinator for Region 5. He also became a member of the NCAA Div. II rating
committee in 2011.
Bennett graduated from Walla Walla High School in 1983, playing football for
his father, Shorty Bennett, and then embarked on a college football career at
both the University of Idaho and Whitworth College. A 1988 graduate of
Whitworth with a degree in secondary education and math, Bennett spent two
years as a graduate assistant coach at Washington State University, adding a
Master’s degree in physical education from WSU in 1990. He also spent one
season as the offensive coordinator at California State University, Chico
(Chico State) and one year as wide receivers coach at Idaho.
As a collegiate head coach, Bennett spent six seasons as the head coach at
Western Oregon University in Monmouth, Ore., compiling a 27-32 record from
1995-2000. During that time, he helped guide the school through a transition
from the NAIA to NCAA Div. II ranks, leading the Wolves to the NAIA playoffs
and a Columbia Football Association championship in 1997.
Following his coaching stint at WOU, which also included three seasons as an
assistant coach, Bennett spent six years at the NCAA Div. I level as an
assistant coach. He was the quarterbacks coach and recruiting coordinator under
Joe Tiller at Purdue University from 2001-05 before becoming the assistant head
coach at Michigan State University under John L. Smith in 2006. While at
Purdue, he coached current Dallas Cowboys quarterback Kyle Orton.
“I have played and coached for Coach Bennett and I’m
thrilled that our scholar athletes will have the opportunity to work with a
coach with his integrity and experience,” Collins added.
Bennett has been married to wife Melissa for 24 years. The couple has three
children, sons Blaine John (22) and Matthew (19), and daughter Brianne (21).