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Merch Madness
Becky Benson
Position: Diving Head Coach
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Benson Photos

Phone: 540.568.6574

E-mail: bensonrl@jmu.edu


Becky Benson joined the JMU women's swimming and diving program as head diving coach in August of 2007.

“I’m thrilled to be hired as the head diving coach and to work with Coach Smith,” Benson commented before joining the Dukes in 2007.  “I know that she has the desire and fire to build a championship program. That was one of the big factors in accepting the position.  I’m looking forward to creating the best diving program in the CAA and turning our swimming and diving program into a championship-caliber program.”


In five seasons at JMU, Benson has taken the Dukes' diving program to unprecedented heights. She won three straight CAA Diving Coach of the Year awards from 2010-2012 and twice helped all four of her divers qualify for the NCAA Zone A Qualifying meet. Under her direction, Madison divers have posted the top six scores in program history in the one-meter dive and seven of the top nine scores all-time in the three-meter event.


In 2012, JMU's diving team swept the CAA's major awards with Benson claiming her third straight CAA Diving Coach of the Year accolade. She coached senior Nicole Jotso to the Diver of the Year honor and helped freshman Alex Savage earn CAA Rookie Diver of the Year honors. The Dukes swept both diving events on their way to winning the program's sixth Colonial Athletic Association Championship. Madison placed four of the top seven finishers in the three-meter event with junior Kim Helfrich taking the top medalist spot. On the one-meter board, Jotso claimed first with JMU placing five of the top seven finishers overall.


In 2011, Benson's divers took the program a step further. Nicole Jotso became the first JMU diver since Amanda Kuehl in 1995-95 to win the three-meter at the CAA Championships. The Dukes placed four divers in the top six in that event while taking four of the top eight spots in the one-meter board. At the NCAA Zone Qualifying meet, Kimberly Helfrich finished in the top-five in both events to become the first member of the JMU swimming and diving team to qualify for the NCAA Championships. She finished 24th and 28th in the one-meter and three-meter boards, respectively, at the NCAA Championships.

In her first season in 2007-08, Benson coached senior Jamie Coyle to significant improvement.  With previous personal record marks under 200 in both events, Coyle went on to break the school record in the one-meter with a 268.20 and ranks eighth in JMU history with a 253.50 in the three-meter.  Coyle went on to qualify for the NCAA Zone A meet for the first time.

In 2008-09, her squad of two freshmen and one sophomore were consistent point scorers in dual meets all season for the Dukes.  Freshman Nicole Jotso broke both school records with a 288.00 in the one-meter board and the first ever six-dive score over 300.00 at JMU with a 312.38 in the three-meter. Jessica Everett posted the second-best dive in school history with a 280.95 in the one-meter and third with a 293.75 in the three-meter.  Each was honored during the season as CAA Diver of the Week and went on to qualify for the NCAA Zone A meet.

The success continued to new levels in 2009-2010 for Benson as she was honored as the CAA Diving Coach of the Year.  Junior Jessie Everett and sophomore Nicole Jotso each earned a pair of All-CAA honors with second- and third-place finishes, respectively, in both diving events at the CAA championships.  Everett broke both JMU school records, becoming the first JMU diver ever to break 300.00 in six dives on the one-meter board (323.60) along with a score of 325.50 on the three-meter board.  Benson placed all four of her divers (Everett, Jotso, freshman Kimberly Helfrich, and sophomore Chelsea Savage) in the top six at the CAA Championships.  All four qualified for the NCAA Zone A Qualifying meet.  All four advanced to the finals of the one-meter competition while two reached the finals of the three-meter board.  Helfrich was also later honored as the CAA Rookie Diver of the Year.

Benson came to JMU from North Carolina State University, where she served as the interim head diving coach in 2006-07.  While with the Wofpack, she had six out of seven divers qualify for the NCAA Zone B Qualifying meet.  One male placed third on the one-meter at the ACC Championships and was named All-ACC.  One female placed third on the platform event, although the event was not scored. 


Benson was hired by the Wolfpack after two years as head coach at Broughton High School in Raleigh.  Other coaching stops included North Hills Club in Raleigh, North Carolina Aquatics Club in Chapel Hill, Jordan High School in Durham, Alabama Diving Club, Los Angeles Diving Team in California, and UCLA.

Benson was a diver at the University of South Carolina from 1982-1985.  In her freshman season with the Gamecocks, she was the National Independent Conference three-meter champion.  Benson was named the Metro Conference Diver of the Year in 1984 and was an NCAA semifinalist. 

After USC, Benson went on to earn her bachelor’s degree in Sports/Fitness Management from the University of Alabama in 1988.  She earned a master’s degree in Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management from North Carolina State in 1999.