The Johnny Bench Award was created in 2000 by to honor college baseball's top division one catcher. The award is administered by the Greater Wichita Area Sports Commission and presented after the conclusion of the College World Series. Former Cincinnati catcher Johnny Bench, who by some is considered to be the best defensive catcher in baseball history, agreed to be the namesake for the annual award.
Schools nominate their catchers during the season to create the official watch list. A select committee of 20 individuals narrow the watch list down to the semifinalists. Two rounds of voting by Division I Head Coaches determine the three finalists and eventual recipient of the Johnny Bench Award.