The new girls’ varsity basketball coach at Bedford High School arrives with more than 20 years of interscholastic coaching experience.
Jim DeBenedictis is a long-time history teacher and social studies department chair at Reading Memorial High School, where he also worked as head girls’ basketball coach for six years following 15 years as assistant coach.
DeBenedictis succeeds Ashley Kepaa, who resigned in September to accept a similar position at her alma mater, North Attleborough High School.
The 2023-24 season for the Buccaneers begins Friday at Waltham.
DeBenedictis said he left coaching for family reasons two years ago, and earlier this fall “I wasn’t really looking – and then this job came up. I was only going to take a head coaching job at a place that was the right fit. I couldn’t believe this was open, and I really appreciate the opportunity.”
The new coach of the BHS girls’ junior varsity is Lydia St. Pierre, who grew up in Maine and played varsity basketball at Keene State College in New Hampshire. “She’s young and really into it and great with the kids,” DeBenedictis said.
He commented that his four returning seniors – Cassie Morrison, Bridget Sheahan, Mackenzie Tierney, and Madison Tierney – won’t have to reinvent the wheel with a new system. “Basketball is like a language,” he observed. “You might have to reset your language, but a lot of what you do is the same thing.”
“I’ve watched a lot of their film,” DeBenedictis said. “They like to transition and run and that’s what I like to do. My style is defense first, man-to-man, put pressure on the ball. I’ve got the kids to do that this year.” He said during his career at Reading he faced Dual County League teams and “I definitely have a feel for the league.”Debenedictis played varsity basketball at Bishop Fenwick High School in Peabody, graduating in 1987. He earned his undergraduate degree at Merrimack College and a master’s in education at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell. Before starting in Reading, he was boys’ freshman coach at Bishop Fenwick.