April 28, 2006
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Santa Clara University women's basketball coach Michelle Bento-Jackson has received a contract extension through the 2008 season after leading the Broncos to its first WCC regular-season title in seven years and its eighth postseason berth in the last nine, Director of Athletics Dan Coonan announced today.
"Michelle did a great job with this team this year. In the past two years her program has won both the West Coast Conference tournament and the regular-season championship, in addition to winning almost 70 percent of its league games," said Dan Coonan, SCU's director of athletics and recreation. "Michelle received the Conference Coach of the Year award, which she richly deserved. The team continues to perform well and improve each quarter in the classroom as well."
Bento-Jackson signed a two-year agreement to remain the Broncos' mentor following a successful 2005-06 season that saw Santa Clara earn its eighth postseason berth in the last nine years. The Broncos finished the campaign 19-12 (11-3 WCC) which included a nine-game winning streak from Jan. 19-Feb. 23. For her efforts, Bento-Jackson was recognized by the WCC as its Coach of the Year and also produced Santa Clara's first WCC Player of the Year in senior guard Michelle Cozad since the 1997-98 season.
With a 65-57 (.533) overall record, she currently sits third on the SCU all-time list of victories and became only the second Santa Clara head coach to win a WCC regular-season and tournament title. Her .571 winning percentage (32-24) against West Coast Conference opponents is also third in the SCU record books as the Broncos have posted a trio of top-three finishes in the WCC standings out of her four years on the Mission Campus.
"I'd like to thank Father Locatelli, Dan Coonan, and the Santa Clara University administration for the opportunity and the honor to continue my leadership of the women's basketball program and the privilege to coach this fabulous group of young ladies," said Bento-Jackson. "I will continue to work as hard as I possibly can to help these young women have a positive experience both academically and athletically."
A 1992 graduate of Fresno State, Bento-Jackson helped the Bulldogs basketball team to an appearance in the NIT in 1990, and was team captain and MVP of the 1991 squad. In addition, Bento-Jackson played on the Fresno State softball team and was named to the College World Series All-Tournament team in 1992.
Bento-Jackson began her coaching career at San Jose State as a graduate assistant for one season and a full-time assistant for two more years. She then spent two seasons at her alma mater and four more as an assistant coach at Syracuse University before arriving on the Mission Campus.
In her four seasons at Santa Clara, Bento-Jackson has guided the Broncos to a West Coast Conference regular-season title in 2005-06 as well as a conference tournament title and NCAA appearance in 2004-05. Five Broncos have earned first-team All-WCC honors during her tenure, including Cozad, who was named WCC Player of the Year in 2005-06. SCU players have accounted for 15 all-WCC honors and three academic all-conference awards in the last four seasons.