After shaping one of the most potent offenses in NCAA Division I men’s lacrosse history, Bobby Benson is ready to strike out on his own.
Benson, the offensive coordinator who helped Maryland claim the school’s fourth national championship with a 9-7 victory over Cornell in Hartford, Conn., on May 30, will become Providence’s next head coach.
Benson did not return multiple requests for comment. Terps coach John Tillman confirmed the move, which was first reported by Chris Jastrzembski from Collegelacrosse.net.
“I think it’s a really good move for Providence,” Tillman said. “You get a guy who has a lot of experience. He’s coached in some of the biggest games against a lot of big teams and for me he’s a guy who is always consistent with putting out a really good product. What’s interesting is that he’s been successful offensively with a lot of different styles. So I think he has a very good ability to take what he has and maximize what he has.
“He’s also worked for some really good coaches like Don Zimmerman, Charley Toomey, Dave Pietramala. So he’s been around guys who have been successful head coaches. So I think he’s learned a lot along the way. So I’m super happy for him and very grateful for what he’s done for us over the past 17 months.
Under Benson, the Terps led the nation in scoring last spring with 17.7 goals per game, assists at 11.3 per game, points at 29.0 per game, shooting percentage at .391 and margin scoring at 8.7 goals per game. They went 18-0, setting a Division I record for most wins in a single undefeated season and became the first team to finish a season unbeaten since Virginia went 17-0 in 2006.
Maryland’s scoring average ranks fourth for the most prolific totals in Division I history, while its scoring average is second, its assist average is tied for fifth and its margin of score ranks sixth.
In 2021, Benson’s first campaign at Maryland, the offense rose to No. 2 in the nation in scoring 15.9 goals per game, only surpassing North Carolina’s 16.3 goal average. The team won its first 15 games before dropping a 17-16 decision to Virginia in the NCAA Tournament Finals.
Benson helped develop the past two winners of the Tewaaraton Award, given annually to the sport’s best player. In 2021, Jared Bernhardt earned this honor and Outstanding Player of the Year honor from Lt. Raymond J. Enners after setting single-season program records for goals (71) and points (99) and marks all-time in goals (202) and points (290).
Last month, Logan Wisnauskas, also a Lt. Raymond J. Enners Player of the Year recipient, became the first player in school history to compile 100 points in a season with 103. The Sykesville resident and the boys’ Latin graduate also passed Bernhardt for career highs in goals (205) and points (340).
Benson, a Baltimore native who graduated from McDonogh, was a three-time forward All-American at Johns Hopkins. After graduating in 2003, he served as offensive coordinator at UMBC from 2003-2004 under Zimmerman, Loyola Maryland in 2005 under Toomey, and Johns Hopkins from 2006-2020 under Pietramala.
Benson becomes the fifth coordinator since Tillman took over the Terps in 2011 to leave for a head coaching job. The others were offensive coordinators Ryan Moran (UMBC) and JL Reppert (Holy Cross) and defensive coordinators Kevin Warne (Georgetown) and Kevin Conry (Michigan).
“I think that’s the price of success,” Tillman said. “When you’re successful, obviously that’s something that everyone contributes to, and you have guys doing a great job. We’re going to find out. We always do. More importantly, as a coach- chief, I think part of our job is to help everyone in our program try to achieve their goals and dreams, so whether it’s a young guy trying to get a major or a job in a particular field or your strength coach and getting to the level they want or your assistant coaches their dreams are usually to be a head coach so if we can help with that i feel like we have to do it, just like people have done for us.
Benson replaces Chris Gabrielli, whose resignation after 10 years was announced May 4 by the Rhode Island school. During Gabrielli’s tenure, the Brothers qualified for four consecutive Big East tournaments from 2016 to 2019 and played for the tournament crown in 2017.