|Title:||Head Women's Soccer Coach|
Benji Walton was named Head Women’s Soccer Coach atBirmingham-Southern College on December 15, 2006. He was brought into continue the legacy of excellence that has found thewomen’s soccer program at BSC since its inception in 1995. Hebrings ample experience and unyielding passion, which will remainimportant, as BSC has concluded its transitional period from NCAADivision I to Division III. During the transition, his aim was tokeep the program stable and also maintain a level of excellence andbuild a program that can compete for NCAA Division IIIchampionships immediately.
In Walton’s first four years at Birmingham-Southern, thePanthers have gone 47-27-2, a .632 winning percentage. In his firstseason, the Panthers went 12-6, including an impressive 7-3 recordagainst Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC) opponents.The team recorded some big wins over several NCAA Division I foes,including Nichols State (3-0) and former Big South Conference rivalUNC Ashville (3-1). In fact, with the wins over Nichols and UNCA,BSC won the Gardner-Webb Classic as the only non Division I teamparticipating.
In 2008, the Panthers had another outstanding season as theywent 11-6-2 with a 6-3-1 record against SCAC opponents. The teamrecorded notable wins over Auburn University Montgomery (4-0),perennial Great South Conference champion Maryville College (3-2),NCAA Division I opponent Alabama State (9-0), and SCAC champion and17th-ranked Rhodes College (1-0). The Panthers finished the secondhalf of the 2008 campaign on a tear, going 7-2 in their last ninegames, scoring 22 goals and only allowing six during that span.They also finished the season leading the conference with afour-game winning streak.
In 2009, the Panthers tallied their most wins under Walton,completing a 13-7 season. It was their best season in the SCAC,with the team finishing 8-2 against conference opponents, whichwould have placed them second in the conference in points had thePanthers qualified. BSC had several big come-from-behind winsagainst some key opponents, including defeating both Sewanee (1-0)and Southwestern (3-2) in overtime. They had two season-changingwins against Hawai’i Pacific University (2-1) and MaryvilleCollege (4-2) that helped the Panthers finish the second half ofthe season 7-3, finishing the year on a three-game win streak.
In 2010, the Panthers had yet another winning season, accruingan 11-8 record. The year was highlighted by a 2-1 win over AuburnUniversity Montgomery, who was ranked 21st the NAIA at that time.Furthermore, three of Walton’s players were named to All-SCACteams at the end of the season. Alicia Plotky and Linda Amaya werenamed to the First Team, while Brittany Soto was named to theSecond Team.
Prior to coming to Birmingham-Southern, Walton spent fourseasons at the helm of the Limestone College women’s soccersquad, a NCAA Division II program located in Gaffney, S.C. At LC,Walton accumulated a 28-41-5 career record, including an 8-6-5showing in 2006. His tenure at Limestone was a time of rebuilding aprogram that had been hit with a loss of players during a coachingtransition. In 2003, he inherited only 13 players in his firstseason at the helm. Each year the program began to buildrespectability in the CVAC conference as well as in the region.Walton was able to take the Lady Saints from survival mode in 2003and 2004, when they went a combined 11-25 to regular conferencecontenders and a consistent above .500 squad in 2006, where theywent a combined 17-16-5. In fact, since his first two rebuildingyears at Limestone, Walton’s teams were a combined 53-35-7with a .595 winning percentage.
Prior to coaching at Limestone, Walton was a volunteer assistantat the University of Georgia from the spring of 2002 to the summerof 2003 while earning a Master’s Degree in SportsAdministration. With the Bulldogs, Walton was involved with day today training, scouting, and administrative duties that werenecessary to help the coaching staff prepare the team to compete inthe very tough Southeastern Conference.
As a head coach Walton has achieved a 75-68-7 winningpercentage. In his four years at Limestone, he coached 13All-Conference Players (Carolina-Virginias Athletic Conference),two NSCAA All-Region Southeast Players, two CVAC Players of theWeek, and brought the Lady Saints to three straight Top 6 finishesin the conference. At BSC, Walton’s teams have finishedsecond in the conference twice. He has coached two NSCAA SouthAtlantic All-Region players (Caitlin Gordon (2007) and Lydia Rice(2009)), three CoSIDA Academic All District players (Serena Murphy(2008), Murphy and Rice (2009)), five NSCAA Scholar All-Regionplayers (Gordon (2007), Rice (2009), and Brittany Soto, LaurenMetzger and Linda Amaya (2010)). He also has coached two NSCAAAcademic All-Americans (Gordon (2007) and Rice (2009)). His teamshave earned four NSCAA Team Academic Awards, including a 2007 squadwhich achieved a team GPA of 3.57 which ranked as the fifth-highestGPA for any women’s soccer program in the nation at anylevel.
Walton, a native of Lawrenceville, Ga., was a four-year starteron the men’s soccer team at Reinhardt College in Waleska,Ga., where he served as team captain for three consecutivesseasons, including 1998, when the Eagles finished second in thenation with a 21-1-1 record. In his senior season at Reinhardt,Walton was awarded Georgia-Alabama-Carolina Second-TeamAll-Conference, NCCAA South First-Team All-Conference, and NCCAAAll-American Honorable Mention honors. He graduated with a degreein business administration in 2001.