Bob Bennett (baseball)
Born in Atwood, Oklahoma, Bennett attended Roosevelt High School in Fresno, California and graduated in 1951. In college, Bob caught for Fresno State, setting a school record for fielding in 1953 by going 224 chances without an error. Bennett began his coaching career in 1956 after graduating college with a degree in physical education. He was 41-19 from 1956-1957 at Kingsburg High School. He then spent 11 seasons coaching Bullard High School.
Bennett took a break from Bullard in 1967 to coach Fresno State when Pete Beiden took a sabbatical; the team went 38-10. When Beiden retired after 1969, Bennett became head coach, a job he held until his retirement in 2002. He would go 1,302-759-4 to finish 7th in NCAA Division I history in career victories; he only had two losing seasons in his career. He won 14 Conference Coach of the Year honors and was named NCAA Coach of the Year in 1988 by The Sporting News.
He helped develop Dick Ruthven, Ron Johnson, Terry Pendleton, Eric Fox, Mark Gardner, Tom Goodwin, Steve Hosey, Bobby Jones, Todd Johnson, Jeff Weaver, Dan Gladden, Adam Pettyjohn and Dennis Springer among other major leaguers.
Bennett retired with a 1,302-759-4 win-loss record at Fresno State. His #26 was the first number ever retired by Fresno State. He was once president of the American Baseball Coaches Association as well. He was inducted into the Fresno County Athletic Hall of Fame (1990), the ABCA Hall of Fame, and College Baseball Hall of Fame (2010).
Bennett continues into his retirement to coach players, lead instructional videos and practices as well as write literature related to baseball techniques and methods. Bennett is a poet and has published a multitude of books over the years. Bennett continues to lead young players, is a motivational speaker and provides ongoing consultation to baseball coaches and players from the High School levels up to the Major Leagues.