“I’m so excited to bring a former Alabama baseball player back to our program in Brock Bennett,” Bohannon said in the release. “Brock has a tremendous reputation here and across college baseball. He brings a lot of energy and is very positive, and his personality matches our whole staff. He will coordinate our camps and work with our catchers, and I am very pleased to be able to have him as part of my staff here in Tuscaloosa.”
Bennett arrives after spending two years as the volunteer assistant at Georgia State. Bennett was a catcher at Alabama from 2007-11. He played for Mitch Gaspard and Jim Wells during his time in Tuscaloosa. Bennett was a reserve his first two years, then redshirted in 2009 before becoming a key player for the Crimson Tide in 2010 and 2011.
“I couldn’t be more excited for this opportunity,” Bennett said in a phone interview on Monday. “It’s in the back of my mind when I’m coaching, but it’s like a dream come true. While I’ve been coaching for five or six years, it’s pretty quick to get back to the alma mater and a place you want to be. I’m just thankful for the opportunity to work with the guys.”
He played in 113 games at UA and started 103 during his junior and senior years of 2010 and 2011. Alabama made an NCAA Super Regional in 2010 and the NCAA Tournament in 2011. He batted .338 with 22 RBIs and led the team with nine stolen bases in 2011. He was a 33rd-round draft pick by the San Francisco Giants that summer.
When Bohannon was named head coach earlier this summer, Bennett reached out to congratulate him. They had crossed paths briefly when Bohannon had recruited a pitcher on Bennett’s team at Georgia Perimeter College, a two-year school where he was coaching at the time. Gaspard and other coaches who had worked with Bennett recommended him for a position on Bohannon’s staff.
— Brock Bennett (@br41bennett) July 31, 2017
Bennett spent three years at Georgia Perimeter before joining the staff at Georgia State. GPC finished first in the Georgia Collegiate Athletic Association in the regular season in 2013 and 2014 and won the conference tournament in 2014.
All of Bennett’s teammates from his time at Alabama have since moved on, but he still has some tangential ties to the program. He coached the brother of Alabama pitcher Davis Vainer earlier in his career.
— Devin Vainer (@Devin_Vainer) August 1, 2017
Jerry Zulli, an assistant with a hitting background, joined the staff on June 9 from Louisiana Tech. FAU pitching coach Jason Jackson was named to the staff on June 13. Jack Hoehl was named director of baseball operations on July 17. Bennett is the first hire with direct ties to the program.
“It’s always been in the back of my mind, but when you get into coaching you kind of realize how difficult it is to move up in the ranks and how much hard work you have to put in,” Bennett said. “It’s always in the back of my mind, or anyone’s mind to go to your alma mater.”
Reach Ben Jones at email@example.com or 205-722-0196.