Coach Bender began at Oxy by coaching current dentist and proud Oxy alum Chris Kyles to the 2008 SCIAC Discus Championship. Chris won SCIAC with a Personal Record of 158’ 11.” Chris also was All-SCIAC in the hammer, placing on Oxy’s all-time top 10 hammer list. Bender also coached James Sabo and Dallon Stang to All-SCIAC honors in the shotput and disc respectively. Rounding it out was Molly Frolich who landed on Oxy’s all-time top-10 hammer list as well.
In two years at Oxy, and just over seven years at Glendale College, Bender’s student-athletes have indeed excelled. Bender’s throwers scored 67 times in conference, captured 31 all-conference awards, earned 14 placings on their respective school’s all-time Top 10 list, and chalked up 7 conference championships.
His throwers have earned league titles in javelin, hammer, shot put and discus. Coach Bender’s throwers have set and still hold 3 school records in the hammer and javelin. Throwers have been big part of several team championships and top 3 placings, garnering between 35-40% of their team’s total conference points in championship years.
Coach Bender is an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Kinesiology, and a highly regarded former throwing coach at Glendale College. A member of his Faculty Guild negotiating team, he also is an Assistant Tennis Coach. Coach Bender holds undergraduate, masters and doctoral degrees.
Although Coach Bender was recruited by Chico State to play baseball, he accepted a track and field scholarship to UCLA. As a member of the Bruin track and field squad, Bender was coached by 3 Hall of Fame Coaches, Art Venegas, Jim Bush, and Bob Larsen. Those early influences helped shape Bender’s coaching philosophy. As a Bruin, Bender set the Senior Class Record in the javelin- 255’-10” (then #2 all-time UCLA) and won the silver in the Pac-10 Championships with three PRs.
Coached and trained in the throws for over 30 years by good friend and premier Collegiate and U.S. Olympic Coach Art Venegas, Bender has continuously shown his strength as a coach and thrower. He was ranked Top Ten U.S. by Track and Field News six times. Coach Bender competed in five Olympic trials 1984-2000 where he finished top 6 twice, including 4 top 10 finishes.
Occidental College Influences
As an athlete, Coach Bender has been directly coached by three Oxy Hall of Famers. Ron Whitney (Santa Rosa Jr. College 1981, 1st big time T&F athlete he met), Coach Jim Bush (Began 1982 and ongoing many years - good friend and mentor.), Mike Lewis (San Mateo College – helped Bender stretch out to the American Record in 35-39 age group).
More recently, Coaches Rob Bartlett, Tyler Yamaguchi, Dave Foley and staff have continued forging Bender’s winning philosophy with their professionalism and expertise. Bender is also proud to have a 30 year friendship with Oxy Hall of Famers Dixon Farmer and Bob Lord. Bender fondly remembers being filmed by Oxy Hall of Famer Ora McMurray long before cell phones and the Internet took over.
Following his UCLA career, Coach Bender continued to compete with the prestigious Southern California Stars & Stripes track club and later, the Reebok Track Club. He also competed on the European professional circuit in London, Malmo, Oslo, Boras, Koblenz, Cologne and in South Korea. Later he won two U.S. Masters Championships and set the U.S. record in the 35-39 age group.
Coach Bender graduated from UCLA with a double major in economics and psychology. In 1995 he received his Juris Doctor degree from the UCLA School of Law. In 2010, Coach Bender also earned his Masters of Science degree in physical education with a 4.0 GPA.
Coach Bender has dabbled in law and business. But his true passion is coaching. Besides coaching, Bender enjoys tennis, badminton, baseball, reading, biking, fishing and hiking in his free time.