American Football Database
Phil Bennett
Biographical details
Born (1955-12-03) December 3, 1955 (age 66)
Marshall, Texas
Playing career
1974–1977Texas A&M
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
Texas A&M (TE coach)
TCU (TE/DT coach)
Iowa State (DC)
Purdue (DC)
Texas A&M (DC)
Oklahoma (DB coach)
Kansas State (DC)
Pittsburgh (DC)
Pittsburgh (Interim HC)
Baylor (DC)
Head coaching record
College Football Data Warehouse

Phil Bennett (born (1955-12-03)December 3, 1955 in Marshall, Texas[1]) is the defensive coordinator of the Baylor Bears college football team. Prior to this position, he served as the interim head coach of the Pittsburgh Panthers during their 2011 BBVA Compass Bowl win over Kentucky after serving as defensive coordinator of the Panthers for three seasons. Prior to coaching the Panthers, he served as the head football coach at Southern Methodist University from 2002–07. Before his stint at SMU, he served as an assistant coach at seven different colleges.[2]

Coaching career

Bennett graduated from Texas A&M with a degree in education in 1978, and was a second-team All-Southwest Conference defensive end as a senior in 1977. He began his coaching career at A&M in 1979 as a part-time defensive ends coach. Since then, he has also held coaching positions at TCU (1982 & 1997), Iowa State (1983–'86), Purdue (1987–'90), LSU (1991–'94), a second stint at A&M (1995–'96) and Oklahoma (1998).

During his first season at Kansas State, in 1999, he was nominated for National Assistant Coach of the Year. During his years as an assistant coach he has coached many stand out players, including Dat Nguyen, Mark Simoneau and Terence Newman.

On October 28, 2007, SMU athletic director Steve Orsini fired Bennett. Orsini notified Bennett that he would be dismissed after the Mustangs' last game on November 24, 2007 against the University of Memphis.[3]

University of Pittsburgh head coach Dave Wannstedt named Bennett his defensive coordinator on February 4, 2008.[4] After Wannstedt's resignation in December 2010, he announced on January 3, 2011 that he was declining to coach in the BBVA Compass Bowl. Bennett was promoted to interim head coach of the team and lead the Panthers to a 27–10 victory of Kentucky.[5]

File:Phil Bennett during Baylor Football game, Dec. 1, 2012.jpg

Phil Bennett at Baylor.

On January 7, 2011, it was announced that Phil Bennett would join the Baylor Bears as Defensive Coordinator, replacing Brian Norwood[6] who accepted the position of Associate Head Coach for Baylor.


On August 11, 1999, Bennett's 41-year-old wife, Nancy, was killed by lightning while she was jogging near their home in Manhattan, Kansas.[7][8][9] The story of the Bennetts' relationship and the subsequent death of Nancy Bennett was the subject of a 1999 feature article in Sports Illustrated.[7] Bennett has a son and a daughter. Bennett has since re-married and has two stepdaughters.[10]

Head coaching record

Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl/playoffs Coaches# AP°
SMU Mustangs (Western Athletic Conference) (2002–2004)
2002 SMU 3–9 3–5 T–6th
2003 SMU 0–12 0–8 10th
2004 SMU 3–8 3–5 T–6th
SMU: 6–29 6–18
SMU Mustangs (Conference USA) (2005–2007)
2005 SMU 5–6 4–4 T–3rd (West)
2006 SMU 6–6 4–4 4th (West)
2007 SMU 1–11 0–8 6th (West)
SMU: 12–23 8–16
Pittsburgh Panthers (interim head coach) (Big East Conference) (2010)
2010 Pittsburgh 1–0 0-0 W BBVA Compass Bowl
Pittsburgh: 1–0 0-0
Total: 19–52


  1. New coach Bennett settles in on Hilltop
  2. "Bennett not talking about LSU coaching".
  3. Hairopoulos, Kate (October 28, 2007). "SMU fires football coach Phil Bennett". Dallas Morning News. Retrieved October 28, 2007.
  4. "Phil Bennett Named Defensive Coordinator at Pitt" (Press release). Pitt Athletics. February 6, 2008. Retrieved February 6, 2008.
  5. Gorman, Kevin (January 3, 2011). "Wannstedt will not coach Pitt in Compass Bowl". Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Retrieved January 3, 2011.
  6. "Phil Bennett to Coach Defense at Baylor".
  7. 7.0 7.1 Bradley, John Ed (October 25, 1999). "She's Not There". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved October 24, 2009.
  8. "Bennett's wife struck by lightning". Topeka Capital-Journal. Aug 12, 1999. Retrieved Jan 28, 2009.
  9. "Wife of KSU coach killed by lightning strike". Lubbock Avalanche-Journal. Aug 29, 1999. Retrieved Jan 28, 2009.
  10. "Coach Phil Bennett bio". University of Pittsburgh. 2008. Retrieved October 25, 2009.

External links