A veteran with more than 13 years coaching experience at the NCAA Division I, II and III levels, Benji Walton was named the second head coach in Kennesaw State women's soccer history on Dec. 18. He assumed his new role on Jan. 4.
Walton joins 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 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.
"We are excited to welcome Benji Walton to the Owl family and look forward to him leading the women's soccer program," Katie Egloff, associate athletics director/Senior Woman's Administrator (SWA), said. "He will bring a passion and energy that will register with our student-athletes both on the field and in the classroom, and we are excited to see him lead the program forward in the coming years."
Walton also has 10 years of head coaching experience after leading programs at Birmingham-Southern College (2007-12) and Limestone College (2003-06).
"I want to personally thank Vaughn Williams, Katie Egloff, and the search committee for inviting me to be a part of the Kennesaw State University family as the head women's soccer coach," Walton said. "The energy and enthusiasm that surrounds this athletics department and the women's soccer program is infectious and I am thrilled that I can be a part of such an exciting athletic community.
"Kennesaw State women's soccer has a tremendous tradition of success," Walton added. "I look forward to leading this team into the next chapter of women's soccer at KSU and continuing to build on that tradition."
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 establish program single-season 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.