PHILADELPHIA - As one of his first duties as George A. Munger Head Coach of Football, Ray Priore announced his replacement on Friday afternoon. Bob Benson will serve as the new defensive coordinator and associate head coach for the University of Pennsylvania football team.
"I'm thrilled to add someone of Bob's experience to our staff," said Priore, who served as Penn's defensive coordinator for the last 16 seasons and as associate head coach since 2006. "We shared our first coaching jobs at Albany and he has found success at every level since that time. More importantly, he is of outstanding character, a great family man and excellent role model. I'm excited to be working with him again."
"To have the opportunity to work with Ray again, and to be a part of the tradition of Penn Football and the Ivy League is very special to me," Benson said. "I was fortunate to work with Ray in my first year as a coach, and we have shared in each other's successes since that time. He helped build a tradition of winning at Penn, and to have a chance to help return the program to the top of the Ivy League is just a special opportunity."
Benson spent last season as the defensive coordinator at Albany, which posted a six-win turnaround from a 1-11 campaign prior to his arrival. Much of that improvement was due to Benson's defensive unit which vaulted from 102nd in the FCS before he took over to 42nd last season. The Great Danes were dead-last in defense in the CAA in 2013, but under Benson, Albany's defense ranked among the top half of the league in nearly every statistical category.
Benson started his coaching career with Priore as a graduate student at Albany under legendary head coach Bob Ford in 1986-87. Since then, Benson has been on the defensive staff at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (1988-89), Johns Hopkins (1990-93), and was the head football coach at Georgetown University from 1993 to 2005. There, he compiled a career record of 72-64, earning MAAC Coach of the Year honors twice. He led the Hoyas to six straight winning seasons (1994-99), including the team's first eight-win campaign since 1940 and a school record nine wins in 1998 and 1999. In back-to-back seasons (1995-96), Georgetown led the FCS in total defense.Benson won three MAAC titles and departed Georgetown with the second-most wins (72) in program history.
Benson served as defensive coordinator at Towson in 2006 and 2007, where the Tigers finished second in the CAA for scoring defense.He then spent six seasons (2008-13) as the associate head coach and defensive coordinator at the Colorado School of Mines, where helped pilot the Orediggers to a 47-19 regular season record, including a bid to the NCAA Division II Playoffs in 2010.
Prior to coaching, Benson began his collegiate career at Marietta College, where he competed as a wide receiver on the football team before an injury ended his playing days. Benson proceeded to transfer to the University of Vermont, where he earned his bachelor's degree in History in 1986. Benson went on to earn his M.E. in History/Education from Albany.
Benson will make the move to Philadelphia with his wife, Julianne, and his daughter, Kaylyn.