New Salt Lake Community College softball head coach Cyndee Bennett is ready to fill the shoes of a legend and create her own legacy. Bennett replaces former head coach Mary Kay Amicone, who accepted the same position at Weber State University.
“I’m very excited to be the head coach of one of the top programs in the country. It’s a great opportunity, and I know I have some big shoes to fill,” says Bennett. “Mary Kay is an amazing coach who did an amazing job with this program, but I plan to just take things one day at a time.”
Bennett has plenty of experience to draw on. She served as the head softball coach at Mt. Olympus High School for the last six years and was named Coach of the Year by the Utah High School Softball Coaches Association in 2002, 2003 and 2010.
In addition to coaching on the high school level, Bennett also served under Amicone as an assistant coach for the Bruins for the last six seasons and helped lead them to three straight National Junior College Athletic Association National Runner-up finishes.
As a result, Bennett is well-equipped to pick up where Amicone left off.
“I have learned so much from Coach Amicone. She is always upbeat, and she knows every little detail about the game, the teams she is playing and her players,” says Bennett. “I’m very similar to Coach Amicone because we have the same attitude about winning and taking it to the next level. I compare myself to her because she is such a great coach.”
Although Coach Bennett shares many of the same qualities with her predecessor, she also plans to bring some of her own strategies for success to take the Bruins to the next level.
“I focus a lot on conditioning and think that a strong off-season training program helps lead to a successful season. If you look good, you feel good and you play good. I believe good conditioning can help players get over the hump in tough games,” continues Bennett.
The Bruins will have plenty of expectations as they head into the 2014 season and try to repeat their success of the last three years.
Next year will be even more of challenge as they will be returning only five sophomores and will need to incorporate 13 new freshmen into the mix.
“I have a lot of expectations for our returning sophomores. They have been there, and they understand what it takes. They know the pain of not winning a championship, so hopefully, that will drive them and help them lead the team,” says Bennett. “We are definitely a young team but sometimes that can be a good thing because the freshmen don’t know what to expect until they are in it and that can be a benefit.”
Despite the pressure of replacing one of the most successful coaches in SLCC history and inheriting a young, unproven team, Bennett is driven by her motivation to take the Bruins to levels that even Coach Amicone was unable to achieve.
“I have an intense expectation, and I expect greatness. I motivate through going above and beyond, and I expect my players to do the same,” says Bennett. “I want to win a national championship which is very hard to achieve, but that is our goal and expectation. I believe if we give everything we have every day, we can be national champions.”