Plum grad named Westminster football coach
By Michael Love
Published: Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2014, 9:00 p.m.
Plum native and Plum High School graduate Scott Benzel has more than a decade of college football coaching experience.
He has made several stops along the way in different NCAA divisions.
Benzel's latest landing spot is his first head-coaching position.
Last week, he was named the new head coach at Westminster College in Division III, and he will be charged with leading a Titans program that was 4-6 in 2013 and 34-55 in nine seasons under the direction of former head coach Jeff Hand.
Hand resigned as Westminster's football coach in late November.
“I'm really excited for this opportunity,” Benzel said.
“I'm looking forward to meeting all the players and getting involved with the offseason, with recruiting and putting a staff together. I'm eager to hit the ground running and get the season started.”
Benzel most recently was the associate head coach and co-defensive coordinator at St. Francis (Pa.) University in Division I in 2012 and 2013.
He helped improve St. Francis from 120th in total defense in the Football Championship Subdivision to 10th.
Benzel spent a bulk of his coaching career — nine seasons — at Division I Robert Morris. In his first two seasons as co-defensive coordinator, he helped the Colonials lead the conference in total defense.
Benzel also helped guide Robert Morris to a share of the Northeast Conference regular-season championship and the league's inaugural bid to the NCAA FCS playoffs.
During his time at Robert Morris, Benzel coached safety Robb Butler, who went on to play in the NFL with the Baltimore Ravens and San Diego Chargers.
Benzel has experience at the Division III level, as he coached defensive backs and was the recruiting coordinator at Wittenburg University in Ohio for the 2004 season.
“There is a lot of support for the Titan football program, and you can certainly tell they want to see the Titans get back to being the powerhouse they used to be,” Benzel said.
While Westminster put together a string of strong seasons, including a national title, at the NAIA level in the mid 1990s, Benzel was playing at Mercyhurst College.
A two-year starter at free safety for the Lakers, he was named the defensive MVP for the squad as a senior in 1996.
He led the team in interceptions and pass breakups in 1995 and 1996.
Benzel's foundation for playing and coaching at the collegiate level was formed and fostered at Plum in the early 1990s under head coach Bill Rometo.
The 1993 Plum graduate was a two-year starter for the Mustangs at cornerback and wide receiver.
“I have followed his career, and I knew it was only a matter of time before he became a college head coach,” Rometo said.
“When he was at Plum, he was a student of the game. He listened to every word the coaches said and he took in everything.
“We beat Woodland Hills his senior year (25-21), and I remember that he had a great game defensively to help us win that game. I hope to catch a couple of his games, and I know I will sit there like a proud father.”
Michael Love is a staff writer with Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5825, at email@example.com or via Twitter @Mlove_Trib.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Intangibles make Jeannette grad Cortazzo stand out for Gannon softball
- Plum grad helps CCAC hockey team reach nationals
- Campus Clippings: Oravec makes surprise appearance for PSNK
- Confident Hayden taps potential with IUP lacrosse team
- No sophomore slump for Cal (Pa.) softball player Reicoff
- NCAA wrestling notebook: Coaches ponder bracket-style team tournament
- St. Vincent women’s track team finds early success
- Keystone Oaks grad receives rookie of the year award
- District college notebook: Waynesburg upsets Thomas More