Northern Colorado Announces Two Promotions Within Women's Volleyball Program
Aug. 9, 2005
GREELEY, Colo. - University of Northern Colorado Director of Athletics Jay S. Hinrichs announced two coaching promotions within the women's volleyball program effective today. Assistant coach Lyndsey Benson has been named head coach and graduate assistant coach Lindsay Wischmeier has been named an assistant coach.
Benson will replace head coach Ron Alexander, who resigned to take a position as a firefighter for the Union Colony Fire Rescue Authority in Greeley. Alexander compiled a record of 88-14 in three seasons as the Bears' head coach.
Benson will become only the fourth head coach in the program's history.
"I am excited and honored that at this stage in my coaching career, I have been afforded such an opportunity," Benson said. "We have a great group of leaders that will help with the transition, and this season is about the athletes, not about the coaching transition. We have a very talented group of student-athletes that have trained very hard in the off-season preparing for this fall. I expect this team to be very successful. Coaching is my passion and the University of Northern Colorado is not just another school for me. It is in my hometown, I attended Northern Colorado matches and camps as a child, and I wholeheartedly believe in the vision of Northern Colorado athletics and the volleyball program."
Benson, a native of Eaton, Colo., is entering her third season as a coach for the Northern Colorado volleyball program. In Benson's two years as an assistant, the Bears have compiled a 47-11 record, including a 32-2 mark in her inaugural season, and also set the program record for consecutive matches won, finishing the 2003 season by winning 26 in a row. In two years working with the Bears blockers, Northern Colorado has increased its blocks/game by 1.02 (from 2.93 the year before Benson joined the staff to 3.95 a season ago).
Benson graduated from Louisiana State University in 2002 with a degree in mass communication. At LSU, Benson was a four-year letterwinner as an outside hitter for the Tigers' women's volleyball program. She also got the job done in the classroom and was a three-time SEC Academic Honor Roll selection.
Benson completed her master's degree in athletic administration at Northern Colorado in December of 2004.
Prior to joining the Northern Colorado staff, Benson spent the 2002 season as an assistant coach at Samford University in Birmingham, Ala. The Bulldogs finished 13-14 overall and 5-6 in the Atlantic Sun Conference.
Benson earned all-state honors three times and set the Colorado state record for kills in a career (981) while leading the Eaton Reds to a state championship during her senior season of high school in 1997.
"It is a very exciting opportunity, especially so early in my coaching career," Wischmeier said. "I have been fortunate to have played under and worked under some of the best coaches in Division I, so I feel I am well prepared. I couldn't ask for a better group of girls to work with."
In four years at Nebraska (1999-02), Wischmeier never missed a match, competing as a setter her freshman year, a defensive specialist her sophomore and junior years, and becoming the program's first-ever libero her senior season (2002) after the NCAA created that position. She was the team captain in 2002 and set the school record for career digs (1,111) and is one of only six Huskers to have more than 1,000 career digs.
Wischmeier played in 133 straight matches in her career, and in 436 of a possible 438 career sets and her 3.35 digs/game average ranks fourth in NU history. As a setter in 1999 she recorded a freshman record 724 set assists and was a second-team All-American Farm Team selection. During her sophomore season (2000), she helped the Cornhuskers to the national championship. Wischmeier was a three-time first-team academic All-Big 12 selection and a six-time selection to the Big 12 Commissioner's Honor Roll and finished her degree in business administration at Nebraska in 2003 when helped serve as an undergraduate assistant coach.
She spent 2004 on the staff at Virginia Tech University, where the Hokies finished 13-16 overall and 7-9 in the Atlantic Coast Conference. The Bears and Hokies will meet on the volleyball court during the 2005 season.
A native of Burchard, Neb., Wischmeier led Lewiston High School to a pair of Class D-2 State Championships (1995 and 1997), and D-2 Player of the Year honors while also being a three-time academic all-state selection.
Northern Colorado is beginning its third year of a four-year reclassification process to Division I and the program has compiled a 57-11 record in those two seasons. The Bears return 12 players from last year's squad that was 25-9 overall and tied for first at the Division I Independent Championships. Northern Colorado will host the 2005 D-I Independent Championships (Nov. 10-12) at the Butler-Hancock Sports Pavilion. The Bears have competed as an independent since moving to Division I and will become a part of the Big Sky Conference in 2006. The volleyball program will be eligible to compete for a NCAA Championship beginning that season. Northern Colorado will open the 2005 season Aug. 26-27 at the Creighton Bluejay Invitational in Omaha, Neb. The Bears will open the home season on Sept. 13 against the Air Force Academy at 7 p.m. in the Butler-Hancock Sports Pavilion.