Michelle Bento-Jackson
Michelle Bento-Jackson
Previous College: Fresno State '92
Position: Head Coach
Santa Clara University head women's basketball coach Michelle Bento-Jackson begins her sixth year at the helm of the Bronco program. The Mountain View, Calif., native was appointed as the seventh head coach in the school's 38-year women's basketball history in June 2002.

In her first five seasons at Santa Clara, Bento-Jackson has led the Broncos to three postseason appearances, a West Coast Conference tournament crown and a WCC regular season title. She has produced two WCC Tournament MVPs in Michelle Cozad '06 and Kendra Rhea '03 as well as seven all-tournament team members. Under her tutelege, eight athletes received all-conference honors, while Cozad was named the WCC's Player of the Year in 2005-06.

Bento-Jackson's teams have also excelled in the classroom and in the community. Recent alumnus Ashley Graham '07 was a three time WCC All-Academic team honoree, while the Broncos have also made a strong impact on the community and for their efforts are back-to-back recipients of the Comcast Community Service Award.

In 2006-07, Santa Clara was once again a force beyond the arc and finished the season ranked No. 1 in the nation in three-point field goals. Helping the Broncos on the national stage was Chandice Cronk, who ranked third nationally in three-point field goals made. She also crushed the conference's single-season record with 94 three-pointers as a junior. Guard Graham and Jen Gottschalk also aided SCU in their long-range conquest.

In 2005-06, Bento-Jackson guided the Broncos to a 19-12 record and an 11-3 mark in West Coast Conference play, which gave the team its first WCC regular-season title since the 1998-99 season. The team also qualified for the WNIT, marking the third time in her four seasons that Bento-Jackson had guided the team to the postseason. Bento-Jackson was named the WCC Coach of the Year for her efforts, becoming only the second SCU women's basketball head coach to earn the honor. Coming off of an injury-plagued 2003-04 season, Bento-Jackson's 2004-05 Broncos came out firing, setting program single-season marks in three-pointers made (272), attempted (718), and free-throw percentage (74.3%) as an exciting, high-scoring brand of basketball entertained the Leavey Center fans. This free-wheeling offensive showing culminated with the Broncos reaching the WCC Tournament title game, where they upset the top-seeded Gonzaga Bulldogs, 77-66, to reach the NCAA Tournament for the first time since the 2001-02 season.

In her first season, she led Santa Clara to its sixth straight 20-win season, as well as a sixth consecutive trip to the postseason.

Bento-Jackson joined Santa Clara after spending four seasons on the women's basketball coaching staff at Syracuse University, under veteran coach Marianna Freeman, and was promoted to Associate Head Coach just prior to joining the Broncos. She played a major role in all organizational, management and administration areas of the program.

An 11-year coaching veteran, Bento-Jackson served as the recruiting coordinator, worked with the Orange perimeter players and coordinated opponent scouting. During her tenure, Bento-Jackson coached two perimeter players who were invited to the WNBA pre-draft camp and one player who was invited to the USA Junior World Championship trials in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Additionally, Bento-Jackson helped lead Syracuse to three wins over top-25 teams and its first NCAA Tournament berth in 14 seasons in 2002, while her final recruiting class was ranked 15th by the All-Star Girls Reports.

Bento-Jackson, who helped guide the BIG EAST Conference all-star team to a 6-0 record in a summer tour of Germany in 2001, is now a perfect 11-0 overseas, after the Broncos went 5-0 during a 2002 tour of Italy and France.

A 1992 graduate of Fresno State with a degree in physical education, Bento-Jackson spent the 1996-97 and 1997-98 seasons as an assistant coach at her alma mater where she coached the perimeter players, served as scouting coordinator and directed the strength and conditioning program. She also supervised academic progress.

Prior to returning to coaching at her alma mater, Bento-Jackson spent one season as a graduate assistant and two seasons as a full-time assistant at San Jose State University. Bento-Jackson also served as the head girls' varsity softball coach at Lynbrook High School in San Jose, Calif., in 1994.

As a player at 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. In the spring of 2000, Bento-Jackson was invited to the WNBA Pre-Draft Camp in Chicago.

Bento-Jackson, husband Al Jackson and the couple's two and a half year-old son Brandon reside in Cupertino.