Former UW-Oshkosh head women’s coach Kathi Bennett and men’s player Brad Clark will be among 30 members inducted into the Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) Hall of Fame this weekend.
The 2017 WBCA Hall of Fame ceremony is set for 6:30 p.m. Saturday (Sept. 30) at the Glacier Canyon Lodge of the Wilderness Resort in Wisconsin Dells. The event begins with the Hall of Fame Open House from 2-4 p.m.
Bennett, who guided the UW-Oshkosh women’s basketball program from 1990-96, is the lone college head coach among this year’s WBCA inductees while Clark is being recognized for his standout career at Markesan High School. Clark will be inducted along with five other former boys basketball players from Wisconsin.
When Bennett departed from UW-Oshkosh in April of 1996 to become the head women's basketball coach at the University of Evansville (Ind.), she left a program that was an annual 20-game winner, WIAC champion and NCAA Division III national power.
Bennett concluded her seven-year UW-Oshkosh tenure with a 155-32 record (.829 winning percentage), five WIAC titles and six NCAA postseason trips, including the program’s only Division III championship in 1996 and an appearance in the national title game in 1995.
During Bennett’s first three season at the helm, UW-Oshkosh advanced to the NCAA postseason each season and posted a 56-18 record with WIAC titles in 1991 and 1992. The Titans produced a 21-5 overall record in 1991 for the program’s first 20-win season.
Bennett, a Stevens Point Area High School graduate, fashioned an 83-6 record over her final three seasons in Oshkosh, registering three more WIAC championships and a trio of deep NCAA Championship runs.
After compiling a 24-3 record and reaching the Division III quarterfinals for the first time in 1994, Bennett’s Titans advanced to the national title game the following two years while amassing a 59-3 record, including a 31-0 mark in 1996.
UW-Oshkosh lost a hard-fought 1995 title game, 59-55, to Capital University (Ohio) on the Crusaders' home court, but Bennett’s squad capped its unbeaten 1996 season by securing the national championship with a 66-50 rout of University of Mount Union (Ohio) in front of a championship-record crowd of 4,001 fans in UW-Oshkosh’s Kolf Sports Center.
Bennett’s 1996 Titans won by an average of nearly 28 points per game en route to becoming just the second undefeated national champion in Division III women’s basketball history. Bennett, a three-time WIAC Coach of the Year, was recognized as the 1996 Coach of the Year in the NCAA Division III by the Women's Basketball Coaches Association.
Bennett, the daughter 2008 WBCA Hall of Fame inductee Dick Bennett, went on to coach four seasons at University of Evansville (1997-2000), five seasons at Indiana University (2001-05), two seasons at University of Wisconsin-Madison (2009-10) and five seasons at Northern Illinois University (2011-15).
Bennett, a 1986 graduate of UW-Green Bay, also coached at Marycrest College (Iowa) during the 1989 season before accepting the head coach position at UW-Oshkosh.
Clark, Markesan High School’s all-time leader in points, rebounds and steals, led the Hornets to Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association Division 3 championships in 1994 and 1996. He currently ranks 14th in Wisconsin boys basketball history with 2,269 career points.
During his illustrious high school career, Clark was named the 1996 Wisconsin Boys Basketball Player of the Year by the Association Press and earned Wisconsin’s 1996 Mr. Basketball award.
Clark went on to star on the court for UW-Oshkosh from 1997-2000. He remains the only player from the program to earn three All-Region citations. Clark poured in 1,692 points to rank sixth on the school’s scoring list. After averaging more than 10 points in a reserve role during his freshman season, Clark went on to lead the Titans in scoring and rebounding each of his last three years.
Clark was selected to the NCAA Division III All-West Region Second Team in each of last three seasons while his shooting proficiency is documented in both the conference and the school record books. He ranks fourth in the WIAC with 193 made free throws in 2000 and eighth with a .916 free throw percentage in 1999.
During Clark’s four seasons in Oshkosh, the Titans produced a 73-32 record and made NCAA Division III Championship appearances in 1997 and 1998. Clark earned three All-WIAC first team honors after averaging 17.3 points and 5.9 rebounds in 1998, 18.0 points and 5.8 rebounds in 1999, and 19.8 points and 5.4 rebounds in 2000.
Clark scored double-digit points 83 times in his 105-game UW-Oshkosh career, including a career-best 40 at UW-Superior during his senior season. He also led the Titans to a win during the opening round of the 1998 Division III Championship by scoring 24 points against Pomona-Pitzer Colleges (Calif.) in Kolf Sports Center.
Clark currently ranks second in WIAC history with 535 free throws made and seventh with a school-record .862 free throw percentage. He also holds the conference record by making all 24 attempts at the free throw line during a game against UW-Eau Claire in 2000.
After completing his bachelor’s degree at Ripon College in 2000, Clark coached basketball at Oshkosh West High School from 2001-12 before becoming the head boys coach at Lourdes Academy in 2015. Clark earned a master’s degree from the University of California, Irvine in 2014.
Clark’s coaching highlights include assisting the Oshkosh West High School boys basketball team to Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association Division 1 titles in 2006 and 2007 before leading the Wildcats to the state semifinals as head coach in 2008. Clark, who was an assistant men’s basketball coach at Ripon College from 2012-15, guided his Lourdes Academy team to a conference championship in 2017.
Clark will be inducted into the WBCA Hall of Fame along with former boys basketball players Mike Flory from Rhinelander, John Mack from Milwaukee Tech, Brad Timmerman from Cuba City, Bob Wolf from Menomonee Falls and Chuck Wood from Racine St. Catherine’s.