SOUTH WHITLEY — Whitko’s school board selected a new head coach for its boys basketball program — someone who has much experience with Whitley County basketball.

Chris Benedict will return to Whitley County to take on the Wildcats’ program — longtime rivals to Columbia City, where Benedict was the head coach for about 20 years.

Benedict has been a head coach for 28 years total, also coaching at Valparaiso, Wapahani, and most recently, Bluffton.

He has a 411-239 overall record with eight conference titles, eight sectional championships, three regional championships, one semi-state championship and led the Eagles to a state runner-up title in 2004.

He has received several honors, including District Coach of the Year by the Indiana Basketball Coaches Association, Indiana All-Star Coach in 2005, Indiana Junior All-Star Coach in 2003, and district representative, vice president, president and past president for 12 years.

Benedict’s wife, Sandy, is a work-based specialist at Whitko’s Career Academy. They have two sons, Drew, 26, a Huntington University graduate, and Matt, 22, a Ball State graduate.

The school also brings in a new girls basketball coach for the 2020 school year. Justin Jordan is taking on his first head coaching role, previously serving as an assistant at Marion and South Side.

Jordan was a Division I player at IPFW and Sant Louis University. He was an Indiana All-Star and All-State player at North Side High School.

“I plan to make these ladies better players, competitors and most of all, fine young women once they graduate,” Jordan said.

Mike and Tricia Howard will lead the girls varsity volleyball program.

“We are excited to continue growing Whitko Volleyball. We have more and more girls playing club and working hard to improve their volleyball skills. Our goals are to expand the volleyball foundation we have put in place so that we can challenge for TRC and Sectional Championships and help these young women become a success post high school in whatever they pursue,” Mike Howard said.

They helped Whitko to its only sectional championship in 2016, the school’s first 20-win season, and the founder of Outland Volleyball Club.

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