The Executive Board of the College Swimming and Diving Coaches Association of America (CSCAA) has named MIT’s John Benedick as its 2019 Ben Franklin Award Winner. Benedick will be recognized at the 59th Annual CSCAA Awards Banquet on May 6th in Myrtle Beach. The Franklin Award seeks to recognize pioneering individuals or organizations whose efforts and innovations best promote the integrity and enhancement of the student-athlete ideal. Nominees contributions may be technical, social, economic or though their leadership actions.
John Benedick has devoted forty-four years to MIT Athletics, having served as Senior Associate Director of Athletics, Director of Compliance, Head Men’s and Women’s Swimming Coach and Head Men’s Water Polo Coach. John was the first coach of the MIT Women's Swimming and Diving program and played in integral role on building the Zesiger Aquatic Center which is a premier facility on the east coast.
As a coach, Benedick saw over 50 of his athletes earn All-America honors, produced numerous conference champions, and developed three national champions. Twice he received Coach of the Year honors from the New England Intercollegiate Swimming Association. He has served as President of the Collegiate Water Polo Association and the New England Intercollegiate Swimming Association. He was also the Secretary Treasurer of the New England Water Polo Association. Benedick has served on the NCAA Rules committee for Water Polo and was a member of the Women and Minorities Strategic Alliance Grant Committee for the NCAA
John Benedick was much more than a successful and talented swimming coach however. As he began his coaching career he quickly realized the importance of having a positive and honest relationship with his athletes and peers in the coaching community and view swimming and water polo in the larger context of learning.
In nominating for the award, MIT Head Coach Dani Korman noted that Benedick’s efforts promoted and enhanced the integrity of the student-athlete ideal by placing the student-athletes’ best interest above all other. “Academics are of high priority at MIT”, explains MIT Head Coach Dani Korman, “but he also understands the value athletics plays into their success as a student and future leader so he is there pushing us to better the student-athlete experience.
“What impresses me the most, is that he always wants to get to ‘yes’ - but will never take a shortcut,” explains MIT Athletic Director Julie Soriero. “He operates with the highest degree of thoroughness and integrity is seeking answers and has always put the reputation of the Institute in the forefront.
Benedick graduated from California State University at Hayward then earned a Master's degree in motor learning and sport sociology from the University of California, Berkeley. He was inducted in to the Collegiate Water Polo Association Hall of Fame in 2012. As a swimmer and water polo player at Cal-State Hayward, he earned All-America honors in three individual events and two relays. He was team captain and Far Western Conference Champion in the 50 freestyle.
John's nature was to attract and promote the most enthusiastic teams possible, believing that everyone can be influential,” explained retired Tufts men’s coach Don Megerle.“John taught his athletes how to deal with the good fortunes of success, while coping with the disappointments that come from failure. His caring and proven methods centered on individuals learning to overcome the obstacles that limited them from their true potential.”