A Ripon High graduate and former coach at her alma mater, Jocelyn Benziger will now lead the volleyball team next door.
On Friday, Ripon Christian athletic director Kevin Tameling announced the hiring of Benziger, who takes over the most decorated small-school program in the Sac-Joaquin Section. The Knights have a section-high 15 SJS championships, five coming in succession (2007-11) under previous coach Tiger Shelton. Tameling said Shelton stepped down after his 10th year to spend more time with his family.
“I’m really excited,” Benziger said. “Tiger Shelton is a great coach and I’ve known him in this area a very long time.
“They’ve definitely always had a strong program and I’m excited to jump in and hopefully fill the shoes well.”
Benziger, formerly Swier, was a standout middle blocker for Ripon and helped the Larry Keethe-led Indians earn a Trans-Valley League title and runner-up finish in the SJS Division IV playoffs in 2006. She was named to the Manteca Bulletin All-Area first team and went on to play at the NCAA Division I level for Oral Roberts of Tulsa, Okla.
She returned to Ripon in 2013 to coach the freshman squad for Adrienne Beltrami. Benziger was elevated to the sophomore level in 2014, and served as a varsity assistant in 2015 before taking a season off from the high school ranks. She still coached for the Pulse Volleyball Club with Beltrami and will remain with the year-round program.
In 2015, Benziger got her first taste as a varsity head coach during the Trans-Valley League season while Beltrami was on maternity leave.
“To be honest, I never really was certain I wanted to coach while in the middle of my college experience, but when I was plugged into Ripon and reconnected with Adrienne I really loved it,” Benziger said. “It turned out to be something I really love to do, and after awhile, maybe around two years ago, I started thinking that if something opens up at some point I would like to run my own program.”
Lucky for her, the opportunity arose close to home. Although Ripon Christian is the rival school in town for Ripon, Benziger is already familiar with its traditions.
“I know a lot about the school,” she said. “Both of my parents, my aunts and uncles, cousins, a lot of my family went to Ripon Christian. When the position opened up, I definitely wanted to give it a shot.”