Bennett announced as next Eastern women’s soccer coach

Autumn Schulz, Sports Editor

For the 2023 season, the women’s soccer team will have a new head coach. The former Eastern alumn, Dirk Bennet, will be the seventh coach in the program’s history.  (Han Byer)

Last Friday, Eastern’s women’s soccer team announced that it hired Dirk Bennett as its new head coach, making him the seventh head coach in program history. 

Bennett is very familiar with the women’s soccer program. He served as a volunteer assistant coach from 2016-2018 and then as an official assistant coach since 2019. 

He is a Charleston native and an EIU alumnus as he earned his bachelor’s degree in 2010 and his master’s degree in 2012. 

In a statement announcing the hiring of Bennett, Eastern Athletic Director Tom Michael said that he looks forward to what Bennett can do for the program. 

“Dirk has been around the EIU soccer program for a number of years and his passion for Eastern Illinois and the special place that this is showed during the interview process,” Michael said. “He is engaged in providing the best possible student-athlete experience for the young ladies in the program and knows what it takes to be successful in the Ohio Valley Conference.  I look forward to watching Dirk take the reigns and put his own personal touch on a program his has been associated with for the past number of years.” 

Bennett said that it is an honor to receive an opportunity to be the head coach of the program. 

“I have had the privilege to learn from some incredible mentors in my coaching journey thus far, and I will do my best to live and exemplify the values learned from them each and every day in my new role as head coach,” Bennett said. “This is a challenge that will not be taken lightly, and I look forward to giving these incredible student-athletes the opportunity to play the game they love while discovering just how special they can be. Go Panthers!” 

The Panthers will open up their spring season on Feb. 26 at the Illinois 7×7 Tournament at 10 a.m. They will play against Drake at 10 a.m., Illinois at 11 a.m., and Illinois State at 3 p.m. 


Autumn Schulz can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]