After 43 years at Moravian, a tenure where she changed the image of women’s athletics, making them a vibrant part of the College’s sports scene, Dawn Ketterman-Benner announced her retirement this spring.
The longtime women’s tennis coach leaves behind not only an accolade-laden resume, but also a career full of memories and a long line of student-athletes she’s positively influenced.
During a May 8 reception honoring retiring faculty members, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculty Gordon Weil commended not only Ketterman-Benner’s longevity, but also her passion for Moravian.
“She has given her heart and her soul to Moravian College like no one I know,” explained Weil.
Following a standout athletic career at East Stroudsburg University, Ketterman-Benner arrived at Moravian in 1971 as a health and physical education professor. In her early years, she coached badminton, archery and cheerleading, along with assisting with the field hockey team and intramurals. Over her career, she has also served as Moravian’s primary women’s administrator, which eventually became the senior women’s administrator under the NCAA, associate athletic director and the chairperson of Moravian’s Physical Education Department.
After Title IX was passed in 1972, Ketterman-Benner helped Moravian re-introduce women’s basketball and eventually helped add cross country, soccer, softball and volleyball. She served as the first head coach for the volleyball program, leading the squad from 1975 until 1987, compiling a record of 165-103.
In 1987, Ketterman-Benner took the reins of the women’s tennis program from the late Betty Prince. Over the past 28 seasons at the helm, she’s led the women’s tennis program to a 288-117 record, coaching 11 teams to conference championships and a pair of NCAA Division III Tournament berths.
She has earned a number of coaching accolades during her career, including her first Landmark Coaching Staff of the Year award this spring – her fifth Coach of the Year honor overall.
“Being named the Landmark Coach of the Year is a fitting tribute to Dawn as she ends a long and illustrious career,” explained Director of Athletics Scot Dapp. “Her coaching record speaks for itself as her teams, year in and year out, are always in the championship hunt.”
Ketterman-Benner’s efforts and interests weren’t limited to the playing field. In 1975, she revived the dance program at Moravian, creating what is now known as the Moravian College Dance Company, and she helped created the LVAIC Dance Consortium and Lehigh Valley Dance Forum. Moravian just hosted its 39th annual performance in March – a source of tremendous pride for her.
“Forty-three years has given me numerous memorable moments,” Ketterman-Benner explained. “Seeing the women’s sports program grow and succeed at Moravian, the growth and success of the Moravian College dance program, my successful tennis teams, my work as chair of the Physical Education Department and keeping the Moravian Community focused on health, wellness, and fitness.”
Always a coach, Ketterman-Benner doesn’t see her retirement as “game over,” just the end of regulation. “Retirement is an end for some things, but also a new beginning for others,” she said.
Ketterman-Benner plans to continue working as an adjunct for Moravian’s Education Department and fundraising for the DKB Dance Endowment Fund. Additionally, she will serve as a guest choreographer and future consultant for the dance company. Off campus, she hopes to be more active in ESU alumni activities and may return to high school coaching and/or teaching at a community college.
“What I’ll miss most about leaving is interacting with the wonderful students here at Moravian,” Ketterman-Benner said.
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