PHILADELPHIA, Pa. - Steve Dolan, the James P. Tuppeny and Betty J. Costanza Director of Track and Field/Cross Country, has announced that Juli Benson, one of the most accomplished distance runners and coaches in the country, is set to join the Penn Track and Field staff as an assistant coach. Benson will work with the men’s and women’s cross country and track and field programs beginning with the 2016-17 season.
Benson brings a plethora of experience to the Red and Blue including previous coaching stops at the Air Force Academy, George Mason, Georgetown and James Madison. Most recently, she served as the head men’s and women’s cross country coach and the assistant track coach at Air Force from 2009 to 2014. During that time, Benson worked with the middle distance and distance specialists that captured the 2012 outdoor and 2013 indoor Mountain West Championships while being selected as the conference coach of the year during that span.
While at Georgetown, Benson coached Chris Lukezic to a USATF Junior National Championship, a fourth-place finish at the 2004 U.S. Olympic Trials, a runner-up finish at the 2005 USATF Outdoor Championships as well as a semifinalist spot at the 2005 World Outdoor Championships in the 1,500 meters in Helsinki, Finland. She also guided Treniere Clement to a runner-up performance at the 2004 NCAA Outdoor Championships and led more than 20 athletes to USATFCCCA All-America honors during her five years with the Hoyas.
On the international stage, Benson coached U.S. distance star Jenny Barringer Simpson to a gold medal at the 2011 World Championships in Daegu, South Korea as well as a 2012 berth to the London Olympic Games. She also assisted Kevin Sullivan to Canadian records in the indoor and outdoor 3,000 meters and Lukezic to a seventh-place finish at the 2006 World Indoor Championships and the seventh-fastest 1,500 of all-time in U.S. history.
Additionally, Benson was selected as an assistant women’s coach for the 2007 U.S. World Championship team in Osaka, Japan and as the junior women’s coach for the 2003 U.S. Cross Country team that captured their highest finish in history at the World Cross Country Championships in Lusanne, Switzerland. She has also been elected to the United States Women’s Track and Field Coaches Association advisory board and was a representative for USATF Women’s High Performance in the middle distances.
As an athlete, Benson was a preeminent talent in the middle distances and represented the U.S. in the 1,500 meters at the 1996 Olympic Games. Sponsored by Reebok International and Asics Tiger Corporation, Benson competed in over 200 national and international competitions during her time as a professional athlete. She holds a B.S. in Political Science and a M.S. in Sports Administration from James Madison University and was a 2002 inductee into the JMU Athletic Hall of Fame.
Benson and her husband, Penn associate head football coach
Bob Benson, have a daughter, Kaylyn.