Cheney, Wash. – Citing fatigue of extensive travel and the demands associated with leading the Eastern Washington University volleyball program, head coach Wade Benson will step down from his position as part of a staff restructuring for the remainder of the 2015 season.
Benson will serve as a non-traveling assistant coach with a focus on the program's daily training sessions while associate head coach Michael King will assume the role of interim head coach for the rest of the year. First-year assistant coach Matthew Dyck will be elevated to the program's top assistant on an interim basis.
"Based on the demands of the head coaching job and having gone through the no conference portion of our season, the fatigue of travel and the challenges of the position have made it clear to me that the best thing for the program and for myself is to step down from the head coaching job and become an in-house assistant," said Benson. "I requested this change from our administration and hoped they would support it and am thankful that they did. I will not be traveling with the team, but I will be at every practice helping the team train.
"Eastern Washington is very dear to my heart, and I'm happy to be capable of staying on in this capacity," Benson continued. "I'm very excited for Mike, Matt and myself to take the ship in the right direction and get Eastern Volleyball back to where we've had it in previous years."
King will serve again as the program's interim head coach one year after serving in the role during Benson's leave of absence following treatment for throat cancer during the 2014 season.
"I appreciate the support Athletic Director Bill Chaves, Senior Woman Administrator Pamela Parks and Wade Benson have shown to me, the program and our student-athletes," said King. "I am extremely proud of what our players have accomplished in the court and in the classroom. We still have a lot of work to do, but the program is moving in the right direction.
"I look forward to continuing to build a program that positively represents the great people of Eastern Washington University," King continued. "I am excited to work with the team in this new role and having Wade, whom I have known for over 20 years, continue to assist with the program."
The restructuring will occur following the Eagles' home match tomorrow night, Sept. 17, against Corban. It will mark Benson's 248th match as head coach of Eastern's volleyball program. In his time in charge, EWU has won three Big Sky Conference regular season titles and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament in 2001, matching the best performance by a conference team in the postseason.
"We really appreciate everything Coach Benson has been able to do for the program over the last 13 years, from an assistant coach to a head coach twice," said EWU Athletics Director Bill Chaves. "This last year has been a real challenge for Wade, and our number one concern all along has been his health and making sure that he makes a full and complete recovery. After several discussions, we felt like this was the best thing for he and the program at the right time."