All-Bee Athletes

Coach of the Year: Ed Benavente, Liberty-Madera Ranchos

Years: Four

2011-12 record: 27-4-1 overall, 10-0 North Sequoia League

Chosen because: Coached the top-seeded Hawks to their second Central Section title in three seasons -- and first since getting promoted from Division V to D-IV -- with a 1-0 victory over second-seeded and two-time defending champion Central Valley Christian. Liberty reached the CIF Southern California Regional semifinals in D-III and won tournament titles at Fowler and the Garces Holiday Festival during a season in which it outscored opponents 146-13, a section-leading number of goals scored.

Catching the coaching bug: The 53-year-old Ed Benavente -- who did not play soccer in high school -- got his start in coaching by helping the youth teams that daughters Megan and Ariel played on. He eventually became an assistant in club ball, first for the Fresno Cyclones and the past nine years with the Fresno Fusion. Former Liberty standout Victoria Burnell, who played for the Fusion, encouraged Benavente to apply for the Hawks job and he got it before the 2008-09 season. "At first I laughed it off," said Benavente, who had no head coaching experience. "Then she started hounding me about it. Finally I got tired of her staying stuff and I applied. Been there ever since and it's been great."

Successful run: The Hawks are 94-19-4 overall and 40-0 in the NSL since Benavente took over. His teams have outscored the opposition 535-85, and they captured their first section title in 2010. "I have girls that want the same things I do, the same goals," Benavente said. "They want to come out and play and win for the school and for themselves. It makes it easy on me when you have those kind of girls."

He said it: "I've always loved coaching. I don't do it for the money. I do it because I love it. And the biggest reason I do it is to try and make a difference in these girls' lives." -- Benavente

Also considered: Nick Pappanduros, who directed Clovis North to a 23-5 record and a fourth straight section final appearance, where the Broncos beat Garces 2-0 for the D-II title. Clovis North won the D-III title in 2010.

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