Ashley Benson: Cougar turned Hall of Famer


As you roam the commons of Bloomington North, you’ll find artifacts of deeply ingrained Cougar sports history; trophies upon trophies, plaques, and lists of state championships that intensify Cougar pride. Within those halls, years ago, walked Cougar turned IU hall of famer, Ashley Benson. 

Benson dominated the local volleyball competition as a Cougar from 2003-2007. She was recruited to Indiana University where she played from 2007-2010. During those years, she racked up numerous awards, including all history block leader and all time hitting efficiency leader. As she excelled within the program, earning All-American honors twice, she became 2011 IU female athlete of the year. Following her extensive college career, she furthered her experience playing professional volleyball in Puerto Rico, Germany, and Peru, before returning home in 2017 and volunteer assistant coaching at IU.

Benson has continued to give back to Cougar athletics by assistant-coaching for the volleyball team. Her very own cougar coaches were a huge part of her growth as a player.

“I came in playing basketball primarily, and thinking that volleyball was just a sport that my friends wanted me to play. But, the coaches at the time really saw something different in me and helped me realize my potential in the sport.” 

But why not coach anywhere else?

“I think being at North also really shaped me personally. The diversity and acceptance of the culture really made it comfortable for me.” 

On September 6th, Indiana University Vice President and Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Scott Dolson announced that as of October 14th, Benson will officially become an IU hall of fame athlete. Hall of fame athletes are described by as “individuals who have made exceptional contributions to the prestige of IU both on and off the field of competition.”

“It felt really great to get this honor, this award, this accomplishment,” Benson explained. Alongside, her father Kent Benson will be inducted for his athletic achievements as a Hoosier basketball player. 

“My whole childhood I looked up to my dad and his athletic career at IU… the traditions and culture that IU had. Following in his footsteps was my main goal in life. Getting this honor alongside my dad is just a dream come true.”

Hearing stories like Ashley’s of cougars turned professionals who have returned home and given back to the community are so inspiring and give meaning behind the walls of plaques in the commons, but most of all, they remind me that it’s ALWAYS been great to be a cougar.