VARSITY HEAD COACH
Entering his 23rd year as the head coach of Westlake High School’s Football Program, Coach Benkert continues the Warriors tradition as one of the elite programs in California. Since taking over Westlake’s helm in 1989, Coach Benkert has compiled an overall 190-74-5 record. Advancing to the CIF Playoffs 18 times. Four teams have advanced to the CIF-SS semi-finals in ’95, ’96, ’01, & ’06. The Warriors advanced to the title game in 1999, 2002, 2003, 2009 and 2010; winning Championships in 1999, 2003 and 2009. The ’99 season ended with a 13-1 overall record (6-0 Marmonte League, 1st), the CIF Southern Section and State Division II Championship and overall #9 state ranking. His 2003 team, finished #3 in the overall state rankings, won the CIF Section Championship, finished first in the powerful Marmonte League (7-0), captured their second State Division II Championship and went undefeated (14-0) for the first time in school history. In 2009, Westlake knocked off the #1 team in the CIF Northern Division (Moorpark) enroute to an undefeated Marmonte League Championship (7-0) and a repeat victory over 12-1 Moorpark in the CIF title game and finished #7 in the overall state rankings. The Warriors have won the Marmonte League Championship eight times in the last twelve years. Coach Benkert has established a reputation as one of the states top offensive coaches. The Warriors are constantly ranked among the top five San Fernando Valley/Ventura County teams, and are usually in the top 25 rankings for the state. Last year, Westlake finished #9 in the state rankings.
The Westlake football program, and Coach Benkert, take great pride in the development of players for major collegiate programs. Under coach Benkert’s tutelage, several Warriors have received top awards and accolades such as; 2009 & 2010 Cif-Ss, Ventura County and Marmonte League Most Valuable Player, Nick Isham; 2010 Marmonte League and Ventura County Defensive Back of the Year, Nelson Spruce; 2010 Marmonte League And Ventura County Defensive Lineman of the Year, Justin Solis; 2009 Ventura County & Marmonte League Wide Receiver of the Year, Nelson Spruce, 2009 Marmonte League Linebacker of the Year, Adrian Muguerza, 2008 Ventura County Defensive Back of the Year, Justin Lilley; 2007 Ventura County Wide Receiver of the Year, Curtis Peterson; 2003 Marmonte League, Ventura County & Cif Co-Most Valuable Players, Michael Stuart and Jimmy Miller; 2003 Ventura County and Marmonte League Defensive Player of the Year, Greg Newman; 2002 Marmonte League Most Valuable Player and Ventura County Defensive Lineman of the Year, Michael Stuart; 2000 Ventura County and Cif-Ss Defensive Player of the Year, Ryan Foltz; 1999 Cif-Ss Player of the Year, Chris Catalano; 1999 Ventura County Defensive Player of the Year, Jordan Lampos; 1999 Ventura County Lineman of the Year, Keith Holt; 1998 Ventura County Lineman of the Year, Mike Seidman; 1994 Cif Player of the Year, Billy Miller; 1994 Ventura County Defensive Player of the Year, Eric Guenther; 1993 Ventura County Defensive Player of the Year, Mike Tetzlaff; and 1990 Ventura County Offensive Player of the Year, Todd Preston. Ten Warriors, Todd Preston (1991), Billy Miller (1995), Joey Cuppari (1998), Mike Seidman (1999), Zac Wasserman (2000), Jordan Lampos (2000), Ryan Foltz (2001), Michael Stuart (2004), Jose Martinez (2005), Brandon Hoffman (2005), and Kevin O’Flaherty (2006) have been selected to play in the prestigious Shrine Game, honoring top senior players from the state of California.
University football rosters across the nation have former Warriors listed. College programs such as U.S. Military Academy, West Point (’09 Steve Hagy), University of San Diego (’09 Zach Dunaj), Chadron State University (’09 James DeLaCerna), University of Houston (’08 Jordan Mannisto); Montana State University (’07 Tyrone Duncan); Humboldt State University (’07 Michael Streck-Woodard); University of Texas, El Paso (‘09 David Grubaugh); Utah State University (‘09 Brad Cotner) are listed on their roster. ’94 grad Billy Miller (USC) scored the first touchdown in the NFL Houston Texans history six years ago, after playing for the Denver Broncos for three years. He is currently a member of the New Orleans Saints. Fullback, Craig Walendy ’94 (UCLA) was a member of the 2000 NFC Champion New York Giants and participated in the 2001 Super Bowl. Tight End, Mike Seidman ’99 (UCLA) was a member of the NFL Indianapolis Colts and participated in the 2004 Super Bowl with the Carolina Panthers, Quarterback Rudy Carpenter ’04 (Arizona State) is a member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after a short stint with the Dallas Cowboys.
Coach Benkert received the Prestigious Cal-Hi Sports “State Coach of the Year” Award in 2009, the Ventura County Football Coaches Association’s “Coaching Staff of the Year” award in 90, ’94, ’99, ‘02, ’06, ‘09 and again in ’10; the Marmonte League “Coaching Staff of the Year in ’94, ’99, ‘00, ’02,’03,’06 & ‘09. He was honored as the L.A. Times Coach of the Year and CIF-SS Coach of the Year in 1999, 2003 & 2009. He was selected the California Coaches Association “State Coach of the Year” in 2004 and was a finalist for the 2005 “National Football Coach of the Year Award”. Coach Benkert was honored with the “Gerald R. Ford All American Coach Award” in December of 2007 in Las Vegas, Nevada and was named the L.A. Daily News “Coach of the Year” in 2009. Eleven former Warrior assistant coaches have gone on to become head coaches at area high schools or assistant coaches in college programs. Coach Benkert and his staff have coached the Daily News All-Star football game four times (’88, ‘89’, ‘90 and ’11), the CIF vs. City All-Star Game in 1997, and the Ventura County All-Star games in 1992 and 2001. He was the head coach for the California team during a dramatic 29-27 come from behind victory over the state of Texas in the 2000 Shrine All-Star Football Classic and was the head coach for the Public School in the ’05 (won 42-21) & ‘06 (won 17-14) Shrine Game victory’s over the Private School teams. He also coached the California team in 2003 to a 29-15 victory over the state of Florida and was selected to coach the West All-Stars in the Army All-American Bowl in January of ’06 and ‘09. Coach Benkert was elected into the Ventura County Hall of Fame in 2007 and is currently ranked #1 in All-Time victories (190) in Ventura County history.
Coach Benkert, a native Southern Californian, prepped at El Camino Real High School in Woodland Hills. An outstanding athlete in football and track, he graduated in 1976, played football at Pierce College and attended California State University, Northridge. Graduating from CSUN with a degree in Physical Education, he went on to begin his coaching career at Crespi High School winning the CIF-BIG 5 championship in 1986, as the varsity offensive coordinator. He earned his Masters Degree in Education from Grand Canyon University and he and his wife, Joi live in Westlake Village and have four children, Jessi, Chrystal, Katie and Aaron. Katie and Aaron both attended Westlake High School.