It did not take Benji Walton long to make an impact on the Kennesaw State women’s soccer program.
After assuming the role on Jan. 4, 2016, Walton immediately went to work, establishing a new culture and setting high expectations.
A veteran team responded to Walton’s leadership as the Owls posted a 10-8-1 overall record and advanced to the ASUN Conference Tournament semifinals in 2016, marking the eighth time in program history.
The solid play on the field resulted in four players – Isabella Contreras, Kim Fincher, Brittney Reed and Abby Roth – earning ASUN Conference second team all-conference honors. Contreras was also named to the all-freshman team, while Roth was selected to the all-academic team.
Walton’s impact and commitment to recruiting in state and locally resulted in the signing of 12 Georgia recruits, including six from Cobb County.
Kennesaw State continued to make strides in 2017 as it recorded an 8-7-4 mark and once again reached the ASUN Tournament semifinals.
Individually, senior defender Abby Roth earned United Soccer Coaches Association All-South Region Second Team honors and was named an All-South Region Scholar. She was additionally named first team ASUN All-Conference, while senior Ashtah Das was selected to the second team and Tiffany Sornpao garnered all-freshman accolades.
In 12 seasons as a head coach, Walton has compiled an overall record of 125-95-15 (.564) during tenures at Limestone College (2003-06), Birmingham-Southern College (2007-12) and Kennesaw State (2016-pres.).
Walton brought more than 13 years coaching experience at the NCAA Division I, II and III levels to Kennesaw State when he was named the second head coach in Kennesaw State women's soccer history on Dec. 18.
Walton joined Owl Nation after spending the previous three seasons as an assistant coach at Indiana. In his first season under new head coach Amy Berbary, Walton helped guide the Hoosiers to a 2013 NCAA Tournament appearance and a 15-7-1 record, establishing the best winning percentage (.674) in IU women's soccer history.
Walton also has 10 years of head coaching experience after leading programs at Birmingham-Southern College (2007-12) and Limestone College (2003-06).
Walton joined the Indiana program with Berbary in 2013 and served as offensive coordinator for two seasons before assuming the role of director of set pieces and technical development prior to the 2015 season. He served as liaison between the coaching staff and academic staff, monitoring the academic progress of the program's student-athletes.
In his first season at IU, Walton helped the Hoosiers establish single-season program records for goals (43), assists (46) and wins (15). The record-breaking season continued as the Hoosiers earned their first Big Ten Conference and NCAA Tournament appearances since 2007.After advancing to the semifinals of the conference tournament. Indiana earned an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament and reached the second round.
In his three years at Indiana, Walton mentored two National Soccer Coaches Association (NSCAA) All-Region players, one All-Big Ten Conference second team honoree, 45 Big Ten Conference All-Academic selections and four Capital One Academic All-District V picks. The Hoosiers also were honored with the NSCAA Team Academic Award each season and the 2014 team posted a 3.561 grade-point average, the highest GPA among IU's 24 sports.
Prior to his arrival in Bloomington, Walton served six seasons as head coach at Birmingham-Southern College in Alabama. During his tenure, Walton led the program through the transition from NCAA Division I to NCAA Division III. His teams won at least 10 games each season and totaled an overall record 69-38-5 (.638) as he became the program's all-time winningest coach. In 2012, BSC shared the Southern Collegiate Athletic Association (SCAC) regular season championship.
During Walton's tenure at Birmingham College, four players earned NSCAA All-Region honors and five student-athletes were recognized as NSCAA All-Region Scholars, including two that went on to be named NSCAA Scholar All-Americans.
Walton's first head coaching job came at Limestone College where he coached four seasons and turned around a struggling Division II program. After the team posted a total of 11 wins in his first two seasons, Walton led the Saints to a 17-16-5 record over the next two seasons, posting a pair of fifth-place finishes in the Carolinas-Virginia Athletic Conference.
A native of Lawrenceville, Ga., Walton spent time as a volunteer assistant coach at Georgia for two seasons (2002-03) while earning a master's degree in Education with a focus on sports administration.
Walton played collegiately at Reinhardt College (1997-2001) where he helped the Eagles to a 21-1-1 record and trip to the NJCAA National Championship game as sophomore. He was named second-team all-conference and received NCCAA All-America Honorable Mention as a senior.
Walton earned a bachelor's degree in business administration from Reinhardt in 2001.