BOULDER ó Former WNBA player and All-Southeastern Conference performer Jenni Benningfield has joined the University of Colorado women’s basketball program as the Director of Operations, head coach Linda Lappe announced on Tuesday.
Benningfield replaces Tracy Tripp, who has taken a position within CU Athletics in the facilities scheduling department. Her duties will include scheduling, team travel, monitoring the budget, community service and facility coordination.
“I’m excited to be part of such an incredible program, knowing what Ceal (Barry) has done and now what coach Lappe is building,” Benningfield said. “I’m honored to have the chance to contribute to the value of this program as well.”
Benningfield joins CU for her first full time role, but has been around the department for a year. She was a volunteer assistant coach with the Buffaloes’ volleyball team in 2011, serving as a sports psychology consultant. She was also the head varsity girls basketball coach at Pomona High School in Arvada for the 2011-12 season and in that same role at Nederland (Colo.) High School in 2010-11.
“I will bring a positive energy and a passion to help make this program even more successful,” Benningfield said. “To see what Linda has done in the past two seasons, for me to learn from her and to also share my experiences is a great opportunity.”
A native of Louisville, Ky., Benningfield was a four-year standout at Vanderbilt University (2000-04) where she helped the Commodores to four NCAA Tournament appearances and a pair of SEC Tournament titles (2002, ’04). She scored 1,501 points for Vanderbilt, averaging 11 points and 6.3 rebounds in 136 career games. A two-time All-SEC second team selection (2003, ’04), Benningfield earned honorable mention to the 2003 Associated Press All-America team as a junior averaging 16.5 points and 7.9 rebounds while shooting 56 percent from the field.
Benningfield was drafted by the Charlotte Sting in the second round of the 2004 WNBA Draft (22nd pick overall). She later signed with the Indiana Fever, where she played the 2005 season. In addition to her WNBA career, she played internationally in Spain (2004-08) and Australia (2008-09).
“Jenni is very passionate about helping our team get better,” Lappe said. “She has a wide range of experience working with players and coaches from a variety of backgrounds and the common theme surrounding Jenni is that she is committed to being in excellent in everything she does. We are very excited she is a Buff.”
She earned her Bachelor of Science in human development from Vanderbilt in 2004 and completed her Master of Education in sport psychology and counseling from Boston University in 2010. Benningfield served as a sport psychology consultant at Wheelock College in Boston while working on her master’s.
Benningfield is a 2000 graduate of Assumption High School in Louisville, the same school that produced Ceal Barry. She excelled in both volleyball and basketball at Assumption, earning second team All-America honors and a national championship in volleyball while earning Miss Basketball in Kentucky on the hardwood. She was a captain on the 2003 USA silver medal winning basketball team at the Pan-American Games.