Tony Benford
Tony  Benford

Last College:
Texas Tech, 1992

Associate Head Coach


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Collegiate coaching veteran Tony Benford, considered one of the top assistant coaches in the country, is in his fourth season with the Marquette University men's basketball program and was named associate head coach in May of 2011.

A veteran of postseason success, Marquette's NCAA Championship appearance in 2011 marked the 13th campaign in Benford's career he has helped guide a program to tournament competition.

Benford has played a key role in compiling a consensus top-25 recruiting class for the Golden Eagles in two of the past three seasons, including a 2009 group ranked by one media outlet as the best in the country.

Before arriving at MU, he had spent each of the previous two campaigns at Nebraska under head coach Doc Sadler. The Huskers collected 37 total victories in the two seasons, highlighted by a trip to the National Invitation Tournament in 2008. The squad posted 20 victories in 2007-08, just the 12th 20-win campaign in the program's 112-year history and the first in nearly a decade. Nebraska players were also well represented on the all-league squads, including three honorees last year.

He was tabbed among the top-three assistants in the BIG EAST by in 2010-11. Following each of his two seasons at Nebraska, Benford earned well-deserved recognition as he was ranked among the top-35 assistant coaches in the nation by Basketball Times magazine and (currently ranked in top-25). The list compiled the 100 top assistant coaches among the over 330 basketball schools at the Division I level.

Benford's recruiting and coaching efforts have helped develop multiple all-conference caliber players at each of the stops during his coaching career. Ike Diogu (Arizona St.), Eddie House (Arizona St.), Jeff Pendergraph (Arizona St.), Kenny Thomas (New Mexico), Wesley Matthews (Marquette) and Lazar Hayward (Marquette) also continued their respective careers in the National Basketball Association.

Off the court, Benford helped the Huskers make significant strides on the recruiting trail. Nebraska's eight-man recruiting class for 2007 was ranked among the top 25 in the nation by at least three major recruiting services, including's Bob Gibbons (21st),'s Van Coleman (12th) and's Clark Francis (5th).

Prior to Nebraska, Benford served on the Arizona State bench as an assistant coach for his first six years in Tempe. He was then named associate head coach for his last two seasons with the Sun Devils. During his time at Arizona State (1999 to 2006), Benford recruited and coached Pac-10 Players of the Year Ike Diogu (2005, consensus All-America) and Eddie House (2000), and also brought in all-freshman team performer Jeff Pendergraph in 2006 (All-Pac-10 also). Benford helped the Sun Devils to four postseason appearances during his tenure, including gaining a spot in the second round of the 2003 NCAA Tournament.

Before joining the ASU staff, Benford spent six seasons as an assistant coach at New Mexico (1993 to 1998). He helped New Mexico to five NCAA Tournament bids while winning 73.2 percent of its games (139-51 record). New Mexico picked up a pair of Western Athletic Conference tournament titles (1993 and 1996) and a regular-season championship (1994) with Benford on the sideline. During his stint with the Lobos, Benford coached the top four scorers in program history, including all-time leading scorer Kenny Thomas, who Benford recruited to New Mexico.

Benford finished his playing career at Texas Tech in 1986 and during his playing days, he helped the Red Raiders to two Southwest Conference Tournament titles (1985, 1986) and the SWC regular-season championship in 1985. He was an all-conference pick as a senior and was the league tournament most valuable player. He earned his bachelor's in physical education from TTU in 1992.

A native of Hobbs, N.M., Benford was a 1986 fourth-round NBA Draft selection by the Boston Celtics. He played professionally in Holland during the 1986-87 season.

As a prep all-star, Benford was a Converse All-American and the New Mexico Player of the Year after pouring in 27.5 points per game as a senior. He led Hobbs to the state title in his final season, earning MVP honors of the state championship tournament after posting 29 points in the title game.

Benford and his wife, Deborah, have two daughters, Audriana (22) and Milena (14), and one son, Tony Jr. (19). Benford also has a son, Jeremy (29).


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