Athletics Briefs

Paul Benim, head coach of the Behrend baseball team

Paul Benim, head coach of the Behrend baseball team

Credit: Penn State Behrend

Benim inducted into Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame

Paul Benim, head coach of the Behrend baseball team, is a fixture at the college. He arrived as a stu­dent in 1988 and never left.

“I’m still here because I saw what Behrend could be, and I also hoped for that,” he said.

Benim played baseball for the college while completing a bachelor’s degree in business and behavioral science. After graduating, he coached the women’s softball team for three years before becoming head coach of the baseball team.

He is the all-time leader in baseball coaching victories at Behrend, recently notching his 700th win over twenty-eight seasons. In June, he’ll be inducted into the Metro Erie chapter of the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame, one of a nine-member class.

It’s a much-deserved honor for Benim, who has established Behrend as one of the best baseball programs in the Mid-Atlantic region. The program has made the AMCC Tournament twenty-three times, won six regular season and six conference tournament titles, and finished runner-up eight times. He has guided the Behrend Lions to five ECAC championships and five NCAA Division III tournament appearances, the last in 2021.

Benim was inducted into the Wesleyville, Iroquois, Lawrence Park Hall of Fame in 2011 and the Behrend Athletics Hall of Fame in 2013.

Other notable athletics news:

  • The outdoor men’s and women’s track and field teams broke several records this season. On the women’s side, Julia Balaski set a new javelin record (38.10 meters) and Olivia Nola broke a twenty-one-year-old school record in the 1500 meter with a 4:35.00. For the men, Dan Dabrowski broke the discus record with a distance of 51.13 meters and Aidan Domencic set a new steeplechase time of 940.19. Additionally, Dabrowski and Sam Hetrick (high jump) both earned All-America honors, increasing Behrend’s All-American total to twenty-three. Hetrick’s indoor season was historic. He became the NCAA runner-up in the high jump, and his best mark of 2.15m (7 foot, 0.5 inches), was the fourteenth best ever in NCAA DIII.
  • Men’s tennis dominated the AMCC with an undefeat­ed season and winning back-to-back titles. The Lions also won the AMCC regular-season championship and had seven players named to the All-Conference Team. First-year student Ritvik Nadikude was selected the 2023 AMCC Player and Newcomer of the Year, while head coach Jeff Barger was named Coach of the Year.
  • Nic Darrell and Marley Persch broke program records for women’s water polo this season. Darrell broke the season record for steals (112) and set a new record for most steals in a game (11), while Persch broke the sea­son (11) and game (3) records for drawn penalty kicks.