|Position:||Assistant Coach/Special Teams & Defense|
|Alma Mater:||Davidson '10|
Kirk Benedict joined the Blue Devil coaching staff in June of 2014, and serves as an assistant coach overseeing Duke’s special teams units while aiding the defensive staff. In 2016 and 2017, he served as a graduate assistant coach while working primarily with the offense and the entire special teams operation. In 2014 and 2015, Benedict served as an Operations Assistant working with the special teams units.
The 2018 campaign was Benedict’s first as a full-time coach with the Blue Devils, taking over special teams duties and working with Duke’s defense. Benedict helped first-year kicker Collin Wareham finish the campaign making nine-of-13 field goals and 49-of-51 extra points while punter Austin Parker averaged 41.4 yards per boot. Wareham’s 49 PATs are the third most in a year for a Blue Devil. Parker finished with 23 punts downed inside the opponent 20-yard line after finishing the 2017 season with just 10 punts inside the 20.
Duke’s kickoff coverage unit again ranked among the top in the ACC, finishing third in the league and 44th nationally with 19.7 yards per runback allowed.
In 2017, Benedict worked alongside Jim Bridge on special teams as Duke ranked among the ACC’s top five in field goals (t3rd), kickoff coverage (4th), field goal percentage (4th) and kickoff returns (5th). Offensively, the Blue Devils utilized a balanced attack featuring quarterback Daniel Jones, who threw for over 2,500 yards for the second straight season, and the running back tandem of Brittain Brown and Shaun Wilson, who combined to rush for 1,519 yards and 13 touchdowns.
In 2016, the Blue Devils’ kickoff unit ranked third in the ACC and 12th nationally while the coverage unit allowed 18.67 yards a runback, fourth best in the league and 25th in the country. On offense, the Blue Devils were led by Jones, who finished second in the balloting for ACC Rookie of the Year honors after setting or matching 23 school records including most total offensive yards by a freshman (3,322).
During the 2015 campaign, Benedict assisted Zac Roper with the special teams operation as two Blue Devils were All-America selections in return specialist DeVon Edwards and kicker Ross Martin. Edwards set a school single-season record with three kickoff returns for touchdowns while Martin, who finished his career with the second most total points in ACC history, established Duke single-season standards for both total points (120) and field goals (26). In addition, punter Will Monday garnered All-ACC honors for the fourth consecutive season.
Martin was selected to participate in both the East-West Shrine Game and Senior Bowl while Monday, also an East-West Shrine Game choice, earned an invitation to the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, Ind. Both Martin (New York Jets) and Monday (Pittsburgh Steelers) signed NFL free agent contracts.
In 2014, Benedict and Roper oversaw four All-America special teams performers. Punt returner Jamison Crowder picked up second team All-America accolades from Lindy’s while Edwards, Monday and Martin all were honorable mention choices by Sports Illustrated. A native of Fairfax, Va., Benedict was a two-time All-Pioneer Football League fullback at Davidson before graduating with a degree in political science in 2010. He was tabbed the program’s offensive MVP as a senior in 2009.
Following his graduation from Davidson, Benedict was commissioned as an officer in the U.S. Army and graduated from the Army Reconnaissance Course in 2011. He was stationed in Germany from 2011-14, serving as a Reconnaissance Platoon Leader and Troop Executive Officer in the 2nd Cavalry Regiment. Benedict also served two deployments to Afghanistan (2011, 2013-14) before exiting the army at the rank of captain.
Benedict is married to the former Molly Battle.