By Tim Glon
ADA — Rich Bensman has been named the head men's basketball coach at Ohio Northern University, effective immediately.
He replaces Kevin Byrne, who resigned on Wednesday as head coach after four seasons as the helm.
Bensman has served as an assistant coach at Ohio Northern for the previous four years.
"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 highly successful prep basketball coaching career, 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 at the helm at Cincinnati Reading High School.
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.
He is a native of Minster, Ohio, where he played basketball in the storied MAC conference.
Byrne compiled a 53-52 overall record in four seasons and was 36-36 in Ohio Athletic Conference 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."
"We would like to thank Kevin for all of his hard work over the past four years," Simmons said. "We wish him nothing but success in his future endeavors."