Alma Mater: Whitworth, 1988
After six years as an assistant coach in the Big Ten Conference, Blaine Bennett returned to familiar surroundings as a college head coach and to the state of Washington when he was named the head football coach at Central Washington University on January 18, 2008.
Bennett has had quite a successful first four years on the Ellensburg campus, winning 34 of his first 46 games. He led Central Washington to Great Northwest Athletic Conference championships in each of his first three seasons, as well as NCAA Division II playoff berths in 2008 and 2009. CWU has a 25-5 conference record under Bennett’s guidance, including the only 8-0 record in conference history in 2008. Central has also had a combined 35 first-team all-conference selections over four seasons, including 13 first-team picks in 2009 as the Wildcats ascended to the number one ranking in NCAA Division II for the first time in the program’s history. Bennett, who was named GNAC Coach of the Year in 2008 and 2009, also mentored quarterback Mike Reilly to a runner-up finish in the Harlon Hill Trophy balloting in 2008 as the top Division II football player in the country.
Since coming to Central Washington, Bennett has also become a voting member of the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) in its weekly Division II national polls and is the AFCA Division II All-American coordinator for Region Five. He also became a member of the NCAA Division II rating committee in 2011.
Off the field, Bennett has been instrumental in leading community service efforts by the Wildcat football program. He serves as a member of the United Way board and guides CWU student-athletes with an annual American Red Cross blood drive, an annual Yakima River cleanup, as well as contributions to the F.I.S.H. Food Bank and the Dr. Seuss reading program, in which Wildcat players read to local elementary school classes.
Bennett, 47, returned to an area he knew quite well as a youth, having been raised in both Ellensburg and Walla Walla. He graduated from Walla Walla High School in 1983, playing football for his father, Shorty Bennett, and then embarked on a college football career at both the University of Idaho and Whitworth College. A 1988 graduate of Whitworth with a degree in secondary education and math, Bennett then spent two years as a graduate assistant coach at Washington State University, adding a Master’s degree in physical education from WSU in 1990. He also spent one season as the offensive coordinator at California State University, Chico (Chico State) and one year as wide receivers coach at Idaho.
As a collegiate head coach, Bennett is quite familiar with small college football in the Pacific Northwest. He spent six seasons as the head coach at Western Oregon University in Monmouth, Ore., compiling a 27-32 record as the Wolves’ mentor from 1995-2000. During that time, he helped guide the school through a transition from the NAIA to NCAA Division II ranks, leading the Wolves to the NAIA playoffs and a Columbia Football Association championship in 1997.
Following his coaching stint at WOU, which had also included three seasons as an assistant coach, Bennett spent six years at the NCAA Division I level as an assistant coach. He was the quarterbacks coach and recruiting coordinator under Joe Tiller at Purdue University from 2001-05 before becoming the assistant head coach at Michigan State University under John L. Smith in 2006. While at Purdue, he coached current Denver Broncos quarterback Kyle Orton.
Bennett has been married to wife Melissa for 24 years. The couple has three children, sons Blaine John (20) and Matthew (17), and daughter Brianne (19). Blaine John will be a third-year redshirt freshman wide receiver for the Wildcat football team in 2012, while Brianne will be a sophomore at Washington State University and Matthew a senior at Ellensburg High School in 2012-13.
Started at CWU:
2008-Present: Central Washington University (Ellensburg, WA) -- Head Football Coach
2007: West Jefferson High School (West Lafayette, IN) -- Head Football Coach
2006: Michigan State University (East Lansing, MI) -- Football Assistant Head Coach/Wide Receivers Coach
2001-2005: Purdue University (West Lafayette, IN) -- Football Assistant Coach (Quarterbacks)
1995-2000: Western Oregon University (Monmouth, OR) -- Head Football Coach
1994: Western Oregon State College (Monmouth, OR) -- Football Assistant Coach (Offensive Coordinator & Quarterbacks)
1992-1993: Western Oregon State College (Monmouth, OR) -- Football Assistant Coach (Wide Receivers)
1991: University of Idaho (Moscow, ID) -- Football Assistant Coach (Wide Receivers)
1990: California State University, Chico (Chico, CA) -- Football Assistant Coach (Offensive Coordinator)
1988-1989: Washington State University (Pullman, WA) -- Football Graduate Assistant Coach (Quarterbacks/Wide Receivers & Junior Varsity Head Coach)
1986-1987: Whitworth College (Spokane, WA) -- Football (Quarterback)
1983-1985: University of Idaho (Moscow, ID) -- Football (Quarterback)
Washington State University, 1990 -- M.Ed. in Physical Education
Whitworth College, 1988 -- B.S. in Math and Secondary Education
Walla Walla High School (WA), 1983
Walla Walla, WA
BENNETT'S YEAR-BY-YEAR COACHING RECORD AT CENTRAL WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY:
As a rodeo fan, former participant and practicing, boot-wearing cowboy, you’d expect Jack BishopTwelve Wildcats Claim Inaugural GNAC FAR Scholar-Athlete Award
(by Bob Guptill, GNAC Information Director) PORTLAND, Ore. (July 19) -- A total of 140 Great Northwe