Legendary coach Dennis Bene withdraws name from Cienega coaching search

Dennis Bene, who coached Salpointe Catholic’s football program to perennial success and a state championship in 2013, informed AllSportsTucson.com today that he has withdrawn his name from consideration for the vacant Cienega head coaching position.

According to multiple sources, Bene was offered the job last Friday after his interview. He has informed Cienega of his decision to not become the Bobcats’ coach.

“The principal and superintendents office were fantastic!! Really great people!” Bene stated in a text message. “I cannot express to you how impressed I was with the people in the (Vail School District) – 1st class all the way!!! I really like the principal (Kim Middleton). She will hire the right person!!!”

Former Salpointe head coach Dennis Bene (Andy Morales/AllSportsTucson.com)

Bene resigned in 2019 from Salpointe, his alma mater, following 19 years as the head coach. He said at that time he wanted to concentrate more on his role as vice president of Southern Arizona Paving and his ownership of the Ashton Company. 

He compiled a 184-44 record with 14 regional titles and the state championship in 2013. A former standout quarterback with the Lancers, Bene helped develop Salpointe’s productive offenses through the years that included the likes of receiver Cam Denson and running back Bijan Robinson.

The Cienega position opened Jan. 6 when another local coaching legend, Pat Nugent, decided to take the head coaching job at Mica Mountain. Nugent posted a 48-14 record at Cienega, and led the Bobcats to consecutive Class 5A state semifinal appearances between 2015 and 2020.

Mica Mountain is also in the Vail School District and is preparing for its first varsity football season this fall.


ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon.

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