The Saint Ignatius tennis program has thrived in recent years, with five students qualifying for States last May. Even though the Wildcats have a new coach, the success is expected to continue.
The Saint Ignatius Athletic Department has hired a new head varsity tennis coach, someone with plenty of experience at all levels of tennis – Bobbe Bennett.
The Fort Collins, Colorado, native assumes the role from Jon Barker '87, who stepped down to focus more on his family and his other extracurricular roles at Saint Ignatius. Bennett brings a wealth of experience to the job, having coached at the youth, high school, and college levels.
The oldest of three children, Bennett earned two letters and a degree from Colorado State University, where she still holds two of the top-10 single-season records in singles play. After graduating in 2002, Bennett returned to her alma mater, Rocky Mountain High School, serving as the head coach of both the boys and girls teams from 2003-2007. Bennett received two Coach of the Year awards, and guided the Lobos to a third-place finish at the state championships in 2007.
Bennett then moved to West Point in 2008, coaching the Army Black Knights. During Bennett's tenure as assistant coach, Army won three Patriot League titles. The Black Knights clinched berths to the NCAA Championships each of her three seasons.
For the past seven seasons, Bennett has coached tennis at Magnificat High School in Rocky River. Bennett served as the Assistant Varsity A coach under Chris Johnson, helping the Blue Streaks claim the 2016 team state championship.
Bennett follows Gayle Scaravilli as the second female head varsity coach in school history. Scaravilli served as the head coach of the golf team from 1999-2000.
"I am very confident that Coach Bennett will be an excellent addition to the Saint Ignatius Athletic Department," said Athletic Director Fitzpatrick '88. "She comes highly recommended from Magnificat. She will do a great job of developing Men for Others in our tennis program."
Bennett is excited to serve as the leader of a strong and talented tennis program at Saint Ignatius.
“I am thrilled to have the opportunity to coach at Saint Ignatius, which is recognized for excellence. I look forward to playing my part in shaping future leaders in faith and the community on and off the court.”
Bennett earned plenty of recognition at Magnificat for her excellent work. Magnificat head coach Chris Johnson had plenty of praise for the experienced coach.
"I am thrilled that she is getting the opportunity to lead the program. She is extremely knowledgeable and energetic and will help student-athletes work hard and reach their goals," said Johnson. "She is great at communicating her expectations and has a good understanding of today's tennis climate, style, and strategies. The girls at Magnificat trust and respect her and she has a wonderful relationship with the parents as well.
"[Bennett] is a big reason for our success both on and off of the court at Magnificat. She played a large role coaching the team to the State Championship last season and was on court with me to guide Anna Roggenburk to the schools first ever singles title."
Bennett lives with her husband James '96 and their four children – Luke (12), Ellie (11), Ann (10), and Jake (8).