|— Lacrosse player —|
New Canaan High School 1974 - 2007Fairfield College Preparatory School 2014 - present (Freshman/Asst.)
Howard Benedict is an American high school lacrosse coach. He was the first varsity coach at New Canaan High School, where he coached for 34 years. He is considered one of the "founding fathers of Connecticut lacrosse."
He coached the first varsity team in New Canaan in 1974 (he was also an English teacher at the school). Benedict founded the New Canaan Lacrosse Association in 1979. His brother, Jonathan, who went on to become the Chief Connecticut State Prosecutor (famous for convicting Michael Skakel), drew up the non-profit incorporation papers.
Benedict went on to win a combined 18 FCIAC and CT State Championships and is still the winningest coach in Connecticut lacrosse history. In three different decades, he would help lead the Rams to undefeated seasons (1982, 1990, 2003), the most of any school in Connecticut. After a controversial dismissal by New Canaan High School administrators during the winter 2008, Benedict was named the US Lacrosse CT Man of the Year in the spring of 2008.
He was inducted into the Connecticut Lacrosse Hall of Fame in 2011, as "truly a great coach." Also inducted in 2011 was one of Benedict's former players, Andy Towers, current coach at Dartmouth College. Towers was the first ever player inducted into the Connecticut Lacrosse Hall of Fame.
In 2013, one of Benedict's former players, Chip Buzzeo, was named the head coach at New Canaan High School, just the third coach in program history. In an April 4, 2013 article in the New Canaan Advertiser, Buzzeo commented on Benedict's impact:
"As far as Buzzeo is concerned, the name of the game is preparation and being ready for anything that comes the team’s way, something he learned while playing for coach Howard Benedict at NCHS. 'It’s not a coincidence that there’s New Canaan alums coaching in the college ranks with Andy Towers, Mike Murphy and Dave Campbell. A lot of that comes from the way coach Benedict taught us how to play the game and his focus on fundamentals, Xs and Os, and understanding the game.'"
In November 2013, Benedict inducted New Canaan's first All-American, Carl Nissen, into the Connecticut Lacrosse Hall of Fame. On the same night, he inducted current Fairfield Prep lacrosse coach Christopher Smalkais.
In the spring of 2014, Benedict returned to coaching at Fairfield College Preparatory School, still influencing lives of high school students in Connecticut and showing them true passion for the sport of lacrosse.
Benedict has coached a long list of outstanding players who have succeeded in the highest levels of college lacrosse. A number of his players were drafted to play professionally in the MLL, these include: Andy Towers ’87 (Brown), Scott Harrison ’91 (Duke), David Curry ‘93 (UVA), Austin Garrison ’98 (UNC), Dan Gross ’01 (Loyola), Tommy Harris '03 (Hartford), David Hawley ’07 (Brown) and Charlie Streep ’07 (Bucknell/UVA).
Benedict himself was honored by Major League Lacrosse at the "The Reunion Celebration," hosted by the MLL which was a tribute to the lacrosse talent produced by the state of Connecticut and those who have contributed to the game’s growth in the state. At halftime of the first-ever MLL Lacrosse Star game in Bridgeport Connecticut, Major League Lacrosse honored the coaches and players whose contributions have made Connecticut into an important pool. Benedict was named one of the Connecticut Lacrosse "Star Reunion Honorees"
"The sport of lacrosse has a very rich history, especially here in the great state of Connecticut," said MLL founder, Jake Steinfeld, CEO of Body by Jake enterprises. "Recognizing individuals like Guy Whitten, Howard Benedict and Jeff Brameier who have had a positive impact on the development of lacrosse enhances that rich tradition, not only for today, but for the future of the sport in Connecticut."
Many of Benedict’s players have become coaches at high level high school and colleges, these include: (current or most recent positions listed, listed oldest to youngest, * denotes having coached with Benedict at NCHS)
- Carl Nissen ’76 (former Hobart College AC ‘84)
- Darren Lawlor ’78 (Pacific Ridge School HC)
- Steve Schmitz ’80 (former New Canaan High School AC ’07)*
- Paul Burke ’84 (former Greenwich High School HC ‘09)*
- Andy Towers ’87 (Dartmouth College HC)
- Mike Murphy ’87 (University of Pennsylvania HC)*
- Jeff Barnard ’89 (Mamaroneck High School HC)
- Bill Maglisceau '89 (Annandale High School HC)
- Scott Harrison ’91 (former Scranton University AC '09)
- Bobby Lutz ’91 (Darien High School AC)*
- David Curry ’93 (former University of Virginia AC '04)
- Dave Campbell ’96 (Middlebury College HC)
- Chip Buzzeo ’96 (New Canaan High School HC)
- Dan Geiger ’99 (former New Canaan High School AC '13)*
- Paul Jespsen '00 (former Greenwich High School AC '13)
- Dan Arestia ’02 (Darien High School AC)
- Chip Murray ‘08 (former Denison University AC '13)