ONU quickly changes men's coach

More news about: Ohio Northern
Kevin Byrne was an assistant coach at MIT before taking over at Ohio Northern.
File photo by DSPics.com 

The end of the Ohio Northern men’s basketball season was also the end of head coach Kevin Byrne’s four-year tenure at the helm of the program.

After the Polar Bears lost 86-83 to Baldwin-Wallace in the OAC tournament on Tuesday night, Byrne resigned the next day. ONU named Rich Bensman as the new head coach effective immediately. Bensman was an assistant at Ohio Northern during Byrne’s term.

"We are excited to begin a new chapter of Ohio Northern men's basketball under the guidance of Rich Bensman," ONU director of athletics Tom Simmons said. "Rich has worked extremely hard as an assistant coach the past four seasons and we look forward to having him in the leadership role." 

"I am grateful for the opportunity to be the head men's basketball coach at Ohio Northern University," Bensman said. "ONU is a great institution with a strong reputation both academically and athletically. I am excited to be the head coach and look forward to working with our young men in the program both on and off the court."

Bensman came to ONU after a successful prep basketball coaching career, at Cincinnati Reading High School where he won 296 games, four consecutive district championships, three consecutive regional final appearances and an Ohio High School Athletic Association State Championship in 18 seasons.

He was named the Cincinnati Hills Conference Coach of the Year in 2011, 2003 and 2002 and was named the Ohio Public High School Coach of the Year in 2003 when he guided Reading to a 24-3 record and the state title. He was also named the Southwest District Coach of the Year in 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2005.

Bensman also had coaching stints at Archbishop Moeller High School and Cincinnati McNicholas High School as an assistant where he helped guide the Rockets to an OHSAA Final Four appearance in 1993. Bensman has a bachelor's degree in communication arts from the University of Cincinnati and did his graduate work at Xavier University.

Byrne compiled a 53-52 overall record in four seasons and was 36-36 in OAC regular season action. This season, the Polar Bears posted a 12-14 record and finished tied for fifth in the OAC with a 9-9 league mark.

"I would like to thank Ohio Northern University and the people of Ada for their support during my four years here," Byrne said. "I had to think of my family first and what is best for them."