George Bennett enters his 16th season at the helm of the Villanova University baseball program in 2001. In his first 15 seasons on the Main Line, Bennett has established the Wildcats as a nationally-prominent program, and himself as one of the top collegiate coaches in the nation.
Bennett currently holds a 438-299-5 record at Villanova and a 506-347-8 career mark at the Division I ranks. On Saturday, April 15, 2000, Bennett earned his 500th career coaching win in a 6-2 victory over the Georgetown Hoyas.
Bennett led a young Wildcat team to a 24-26 record in 2000. The year brought with it a number of significant highlights. Junior pitcher Aaron Krawiec was selected in the third round of the Major League Baseball Draft, 73rd overall, by the Chicago Cubs. This past summer, former Villanova baseball standout Mike Neill, became the school’s first-ever baseball Olympian. Neill led the United States Team with three home runs at the Summer Games in Sydney, Australia, helping the U.S. earn Olympic Gold.
Two seasons ago, Bennett guided Villanova to a 27-26-1 record and its second consecutive Liberty Bell Classic Championship. The 1999 `Cats became only the second team to win back-to-back Liberty Bell titles.
In 1998, Bennett’s squad posted a 26-21-1 record, with two Wildcats, Dan Boublis and Chris Pilato, taken in the Major League Baseball draft. During the 1997 campaign, he guided an injury-plagued Wildcat team to a 29-27 record and a berth in the Big East Championship. At the conference tournament, Bennett and the Wildcats advanced to the finals where they lost to St. John’s. This was Villanova’s fifth trip to the Big East championship game under Bennett’s tutelage.
Originally coming to Villanova in the spring of 1985 as an assistant to the then-head coach Larry Shane, Bennett was named the Wildcats eighth head baseball coach that fall. In his first season in the head coaching position, he guided his team to their first winning season (21-20-1 overall) since 1981. The following season, the Cats advanced to the Big East Tournament for the first time and ended up setting a school record for wins in a season with a 35-18 slate.
Prior to his stint at Villanova, Bennett was the head coach at nearby St. Joseph’s University from 1981-84, compiling a 68-53-3 record during that time. While at St. Joseph’s, Bennett coached current Seattle Mariner pitcher Jamie Moyer. He earned his 400th career win in the Wildcats victory over Old Dominion during the 1996 season.
Throughout his Wildcat career, Bennett has led Villanova to two Big East regular season titles in 1993 and 1996 and two Big East Tournament Championships in 1989 and 1991. In addition, he guided his 1989 and 1991 teams to the NCAA Tournament. The 1989 squad advanced to the regional final and was one game from the College World Series before losing to Miami.
During his career at Villanova, Bennett has placed numerous players in the professional ranks. Four of his former Wildcat players, Gary Scott, Rafael Novoa , Gene Schall, and Mike Neill have all spent time in the Major Leagues.
Bennett began his longtime Philadelphia-area coaching career as an assistant baseball coach at Upper Darby High School in 1963. He held that position until 1972, when he was named the school’s Athletic Director, a title he held until 1980. Bennett also spent over 30 years as a social studies and human behavior teacher at Upper Darby.
In his outstanding career, Bennett has been honored as the American Baseball Coaches Association District II Coach-of-the-Year twice, in 1989 and 1991, the two years in which Villanova advanced to the NCAA Regionals. He was also named the Big East Conference Coach-of-the-Year in 1988 and 1993.
A 1962 graduate of West Chester State College where he earned a Bachelor’s degree in Education, Bennett went on to earn a Master’s in Education and Social Studies at Temple University in 1964. This past year, he was enshrined into the West Chester Athletic Hall of Fame. Bennett and his wife, Betty, have two sons, Glenn and Brian, and one grandchild. They currently reside in Springfield, PA.
The Book on Bennett
• Two-Time Big East Coach-of-the-Year.
• Guided Villanova to two regular season Big East titles and two conference tournament crowns.
• Led the `Cats to two NCAA Tournament appearances.
• Earned American Baseball Coaches Association District II Coach-of-the-Year honors on two occasions.
• Produced five major league players.
• Directed Villanova to five Big East Championship games.
• Earned his 400th victory at Villanova in 1999.
• Guided the Wildcats to two consecutive Liberty Bell Classic titles in 1998 and 1999.
• Posted his 500th career coaching victory on April 15, 2000, as the Wildcats defeated Georgetown 6-2.