Tami Bennett Returns to UW as Assistant Coach

April 1, 2003

SEATTLE - Tami Bennett, the all-time scoring leader in University of Washington women's soccer history, is leaving her job as an assistant coach at Portland State to take a similar position at her alma mater, UW head coach Lesle Gallimore announced Tuesday.

Bennett leaves after two seasons at Portland State where she helped transform the Vikings from a last-place team in 2001 into the Big Sky Conference runners up in 2002. Portland State registered a school-record 13 victories in 2002 and advanced to the championship game of the Big Sky Tournament. The Vikings were the most improved Division I women's soccer program in the nation.

'Assistant Coach Amy Griffin and I are extremely pleased to welcome Tami Bennett back to Montlake,' Gallimore remarked. 'She was a great leader when she was a player for us, and we know she will provide great coaching leadership for our current and future teams.

'She is a die-hard Husky who has had a terrific experience working for another former Husky, Tara (Bilanski) Erikson at Portland State the past two seasons. Tami's experience in helping turn that program around, and learning from one of the best up-and-coming coaches in the nation really made her stock rise with us. We couldn't be more pleased to have Tami wearing purple and gold again.'

Bennett graduated from Washington in 2001 with a sociology degree. She concluded her collegiate career with the 2000 season, helping the Huskies capture their only Pacific-10 Conference championship. Bennett received first-team All-Pac-10 honors after helping UW advance to the third round of the NCAA Tournament with a school-record 18 wins.

'Obviously I'm really excited to be coming back to Washington,' Bennett exclaimed. 'I have been fortunate to get into coaching so soon after my playing career and I appreciate the time I had working with Tara at Portland State. I learned so much from her and feel that I have some things to add to the Washington program. As a former player, I have a lot of pride in this program.'

Bennett replaces Chuck Sekyra who was hired as the head women's coach at Seattle Pacific University on Feb. 24.

She served as the head coach of two Portland-based club teams and also served as the under-15 girls head coach in the Kent (Wash.) Youth Soccer Association.

Bennett owns numerous Washington records, including the mark for career goals with 34. She established several UW single-season standards in 2000 with 16 goals and 36 total points.

A product of Seattle Christian High School, Bennett completed her prep career as the most prolific scorer in Washington state history. Her 152 career goals broke the previous record held by former U.S. National Team standout Michelle Akers.

One of the players Bennett will coach at Washington is her sister Melissa who will be a senior next season. The two played together one season for the Huskies, in 2000.

Melissa amassed 166 career goals at Seattle Christian to break her sister's state record. She finished two points shy of Tami's UW single-season point record, collecting 34 points during the 2002 campaign on eight goals and 18 assists.

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