FREDERICK, Md. - Chris Benassi has been named the new head cross country and track and field coach at Hood College, Director of Athletics Dr. Susan Kolb announced.
"I couldn't be more excited to bring Chris to Hood, as we've tasked him with some new and exciting goals for our track & field and cross country programs," said Kolb. "Chris proposed strategic goals for both track and cross country and I feel as though his ideas can be fulfilled successfully here at Hood College."
Benassi comes to Blazers after serving as the assistant coach at Nova Southeastern (Fla.) since February 2017. He was part of a coaching staff that coached the Shark women to the first Peach Belt Conference Championship in school history and produced 22 individual conference track and field champions and 23 NCAA Division II Championship qualifiers.
"I would like to thank Dr. Susan Kolb and the rest of the search committee for the opportunity to lead the men's and women's cross country and track and field programs at Hood College," Benassi said. "I am looking to build on the success established through the history of the program, and am confident with our location, facilities, and access to miles of trails in the area, we have the foundation to build something really special. The opportunity to coach in the Middle Atlantic Conference as one of the premier conferences in NCAA Division III is a huge advantage as well and I can't wait to get started."
During his only season as the cross country assistant at Nova, the women's team improved by 16 points at the Peach Belt Championships and one runner on the men's team earned all-conference and all-region honors.
Benassi was the graduate assistant at Humboldt State (Calif.) from 2013-15. Benassi comes to the Sharks from Humboldt State University where he spent three years as the assistant coach and recruit coordinator for the cross country and track and field teams. During that time, Benassi coached 15 NCAA Championship qualifiers and eight CCAA champions.
Prior to Humboldt State, Benassi was the head coach at Elizabeth Seton High School in Bladensburg, Maryland. from 2012-2013, Southern High School in Annapolis, Maryland from 2011-2012 and was the assistant coach at Dulaney High School in Timonium, Maryland in 2010.
Benassi coached the running club at the University of San Diego from 2015-17 and worked for Go! Athletes, LLC as their west region director and an exercise physiologist.
Benassi competed in cross country and track and field at Texas Christian and Auburn, graduating from Auburn in 2007 with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. He has a master's degree from Humboldt State in kinesiology.