Kathi Bennett
Kathi Bennett

Hometown:
Clintonville, Wis.

Position:
Head Coach

Experience:
4th Season

Alma Mater:
UW-Green Bay


03/12/2014

Huskies Fall to Ball State in MAC Tournament Second Round

Natecia Augusta led the Huskies with 13 points, closed the tournament with a 18.5 point average

03/10/2014

Huskies Headed to Cleveland After Overtime Win at EMU

Alexis Lindstrom was 9-for-11 behind the arc, a MAC Tournament Record, with 31 points.

03/08/2014

Huskies Defeat Broncos, 59-51; Head to EMU for MAC Tournament

NIU's Ally Lehman was 7-for-11 from the field with a career-high 16 points

03/07/2014

Huskies on the Hunt for Tournament Hosting Rights on Senior Day

NIU will play Western Michigan for the third-straight year in regular season finale

03/05/2014

Huskies Fall in Final Road Game of the Season at Ball State

NIU shot .412 from the field; Ball State was 11-of-24 from behind the arc in the contest

03/09/2014

NIU-WMU Highlights

Highlights from the Huskies 59-51 over Western Michigan on Senior Day

02/27/2014

NIU-Toledo Highlights

Highlights from the Huskies-Rockets overtime bout February 27, 2014, in which NIU defeated Toledo, 68-59. Northern Illinois outscored Toledo in the final 11 minutes of the game -- including overtime -- 28-12.

02/23/2014

NIU-Central Michigan Highlights

Highlights from the Huskies 85-77 loss to Central Michigan. Junior Amanda Corral led NIU with 23 points and surpassed the 1,000 point mark in her career.

02/10/2014

NIU-Ball State Highlights

Highlights from the Huskies pink game versus Ball State Sunday, February 9. NIU had its largest crowd of the year with 770 fans in attendance.

02/06/2014

NIU-Akron Highlights

Highlights from the Huskies impressive performance over offensive juggernaut Akron

02/27/2014

NIU defeats Toledo in Overtime, 68-59

The Huskies outscored the Rockets 28-12 in the final 11 minutes of the game earn its first win over Toledo since 2011.

01/29/2014

NIU defeats Kent State, 65-43

The Northern Illinois women's basketball earned a complete team win over the Golden Flashes to improve to 4-4 in the MAC.

01/23/2014

Northern Illinois falls to Buffalo, 63-52

Photos from the Huskies first home MAC loss against the Bulls.

11/21/2013

Northern Illinois defeats Bradley, 63-60

The Huskies improved to 2-2 on the season and 2-0 at home against in-state foe Bradley with a 63-60 victory.

Kathi Bennett, a veteran collegiate head coach who has guided three programs to eight NCAA Tournaments and five conference championships while posting a career winning percentage of .585 (330-234), was named head women's basketball coach at Northern Illinois University, May 18 2010, and has already received a contract extension through the 2017 season. Through three seasons, Bennett owns a 34-57 record with the Huskies.

"Kathi brings experience, she brings knowledge of the game, excellent communication skills and above all, she cares about the student-athletes," said former NIU Associate Vice President and Director of Athletics Jeff Compher of the ninth head coach in program history. "The team will work hard, play hard and have a great experience. I am confident this program will make significant competitive strides and, under Kathi's direction, will achieve our goal to compete for conference championships in the near future."

In the first two seasons under her guidance, the Huskies went from a 10-win team in 2009-10 to a 13-win team in 2010-11, despite losing three starters. More importantly, NIU improved from a 4-12 record in Mid-American Conference play to a 7-9 mark in 2010-11 season.

In 2011-12, Bennett directed a youthful roster full of nine underclassmen to the MAC quarterfinals for the first time since 2007 with a 14-17 record, 6-10 in MAC play. The splash in the MAC postseason marked the Huskies' first trip to Cleveland since 2009 and first win in the MAC Tournament since 2007. NIU's last second victory over Akron in the tournament landed the Huskies on the front page of the NCAA's Women's Basketball page.

For their success, the Huskies were invited to play in the Preseason WNIT, where they opened the season at Iowa. Though NIU lost to the Hawkeyes, Northern Illinois would go on to win two-consecutive games in the tournament to finish 2-1.

Showing the principles of Bennett's famed "pack" defense, the 2011-12 Huskies ranked in the top four in the league in scoring defense, opponent field goal percentage, opponent three-point percentage and defensive rebounding. NIU also ranked 57th in the country in free throw percentage.

Bennett, who earned her 300th career win with NIU to join her father, legendary coach Dick Bennett, on the 300-career-win list, came to NIU after two seasons as an assistant coach at Wisconsin, where she coached the Badgers' defense and was instrumental in UW making its first NCAA Tournament appearance in eight years in 2010. Wisconsin finished tied for third in the league and led the Big Ten in scoring defense in 2010 after ranking 10th in the league in that category prior to her arrival.

A native of Stevens Point, Wis., Bennett is the sister of University of Virginia head men's basketball coach Tony Bennett; her father won 316 games as a collegiate coach at Washington State, Wisconsin, UW-Green Bay and UW-Stevens Point. Kathi played collegiately at both Stevens Point and Green Bay and earned her bachelor's degree from UW-Green Bay in 1986.

Bennett's 22 years of experience as a collegiate head coach include stops at Marycrest College (1988-89), Wisconsin-Oshkosh (1989-96), Evansville (1996-2000) and Indiana (2000-05). Her career record of 323-211 includes 15 winning campaigns and nine postseason appearances. Bennett is looking forward to developing another winner at Northern Illinois.

"I'm a builder. It's who I am. I know that's what is in me," Bennett said. "The opportunity to build this program... that thumps in my heart."

Fundamental to Bennett's formula for building programs are the "five cornerstones:" passion, servanthood, unity, humility and thankfulness. Developed by her father, Bennett has implemented the cornerstones in their current form since her days at Evansville.

"(The cornerstones) are intangible qualities that we want to instill and stand for in our program," Bennett said. "Hopefully when our players leave, they are things they will carry with them."

Bennett was successful coaching even before the cornerstones were inked into her coaching handbook. Under her guidance, UW-Oshkosh won the 1996 NCAA Division III National Championship with a perfect 31-0 record after playing in the national title game the previous season. She was named Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Coach of the Year five times and was the Women's Basketball Coaches' Association Division III Coach of the Year in 1996.

At Evansville, Bennett took over a program that had an all-time record of 18-113, engineered a 13-game turnaround and led the Purple Aces to their first NCAA Tournament appearance in 1999. She was named the Missouri Valley Conference Coach of the Year that season. In 1999-2000, she led Evansville to a school-record 23 wins and a WNIT berth.

The next year, Bennett took over an Indiana program that went 10-18 the year before. Immediately, the Hoosiers embarked on a seven-game winning streak, their longest in two years. Under Bennett's guidance, the Hoosiers doubled their win total to finish with a 20-11 record, and tied for sixth in the Big Ten standings, their best finish since 1997-98.

A season later, Bennett's 2002 Indiana team won the Big Ten Conference Tournament title as the No. 5 seed, defeating No. 1 seed Purdue and regular season champion Penn State. It was the first trip to the NCAA Tournament for Indiana since 1994-95. In five years in Bloomington, Bennett's Hoosier teams defeated six Top 25 opponents and claimed a pair of victories over Top 10 foes. For her part, Bennett is confident that Northern Illinois' women's basketball team can and will be successful.

"This is a place where we can contend for the MAC title, and become a player on the national scene," she said. "The university is diverse, it's strong academically and it is big enough - with 24,000 students - to offer a great atmosphere, but small enough to give its students personal attention. The location and the facilities are excellent. I'm excited to work with Dr. Peters, Jeff Compher and the rest of the staff to reach our goals."

Year School W-L Pct. Position Highlights
1988-89 Marycrest College 18-10 .643 Head Coach First season as a coach
1989-90 UW-Oshkosh 17-7 .708 Head Coach NCAA D-III Tournament Second Round
1990-91 UW-Oshkosh 21-5 .808 Head Coach NCAA D-III Tournament Second Round, WIAC Coach of the Year
1991-92 UW-Oshkosh 18-6 .750 Head Coach NCAA D-III Tournament First Round
1992-93 UW-Oshkosh 16-8 .667 Head Coach
1993-94 UW-Oshkosh 24-3 .889 Head Coach NCAA D-III Tournament Quarterfinals, WIAC Coach of the Year
1994-95 UW-Oshkosh 28-3 .903 Head Coach NCAA D-III National Runner-Up
1995-96 UW-Oshkosh 31-0 1.000 Head Coach NCAA D-III National Championship, WBCA NCAA D-III Coach of the Year, WIAC Coach of the Year
1996-97 Evansville 3-23 .115 Head Coach Took over a program that had a 18-113 all-time record
1997-98 Evansville 6-20 .231 Head Coach
1998-99 Evansville 19-11 .633 Head Coach First NCAA Tournament appearance in school history, Missouri Valley Coach of the Year
1999-2000 Evansville 23-7 .767 Head Coach WNIT First Round
2000-01 Indiana 20-11 .645 Head Coach
2001-02 Indiana 17-14 .548 Head Coach Big Ten Tournament Champions, NCAA D-I Tournament First Round
2002-03 Indiana 13-15 .464 Head Coach Team USA Assistant Coach, Pan American Games
2003-04 Indiana 12-17 .429 Head Coach Big Ten Conference All-Star Team Head Coach
2004-05 Indiana 10-18 .357 Head Coach
2008-09 Wisconsin 21-11 .656 Assistant Coach Took UW from 10th to second in Big Ten scoring defense
2009-10 Wisconsin 19-15 .559 Assistant Coach Badgers led Big Ten in scoring defense (56.2 ppg)
2009-10 Wisconsin 19-15 .559 Assistant Coach Badgers led Big Ten in scoring defense (56.2 ppg)
2010-11 Northern Illinois 13-17 .433 Head Coach Improved wins by 30%, 75% in conference, from prior year
2011-12 Northern Illinois 14-17 .451 Head Coach Gave NIU its first win and quarterfinals appearance in MAC Tourney since 2007
2012-13 Northern Illinois 7-23 .233 Head Coach Finished 2-1 in the Preseason WNIT
Total 374-261 .589 15 winning seasons in 21 years as a coach
Total (Head Coach) 330-234 .585 Nine postseason appearances, National Championship