After being a standout basketball player for Muncie Southside High School, Ty’Ronda Benning played two seasons of women’s basketball at Lincoln Trail Community College. But at the end of her second year, she wanted to return to her hometown.
She decided to transfer to Ball State University.
“I chose Ball State because of the coaching staff,” she said. “The coaching staff was all about family and us being people first and athletes second. So that's what made me feel the most comfortable and that's why I chose to come back.”
Years later, she hopes to bring that mentality to her new job at Delta High School as girls’ varsity head basketball coach.
“You never want to take a cookie-cutter approach to hiring a head coach.,” Delta athletic director Tilmon Clark said. “Each applicant brings something special to the table. Ty’Ronda brings a wealth of experience to this position, even though it will be her first head coaching position at the high school level. Her involvement as a student-athlete in high school and college is very impressive… Her professional experience as a police officer is also incredible, that indicates to me that she is a servant leader.”
Before Benning, the Eagles were led by then-head coach Andy Lewman. Over his seven years as head coach, he led Delta to a 52-107 record. But following the 2022-23 season, he resigned. This started the search to fill the position.
“The hiring process lasted roughly five weeks and was broken down into three parts,” Delta athletic director Tilmon Clark said. “The application process consisted of interested applicants emailing me resumes and references. Once that process was completed, I moved on to the second phase which was phone interviews. This allowed me to get to know applicants better and to determine who I'd like to bring in for in-person interviews.”
Benning considered applying when the job was posted due to her family's relationship with the Blue and Gold.
“My son [Steven] goes there and he actually transferred from Yorktown,” she said. “We just kind of just did a whole transition this year and I liked it and it worked out… I knew some of the girls that are on the team and … I just kind of knew a lot about the program.”
Regarding her coaching and leadership experience, Benning has a variety of resumes. In 2018, she became a police officer for the city of Muncie. But after retiring in 2021, she went right back to the sport. The same month after she left the police force, she opened up Ty’s Skills Academy.
“I have basketball camps and clinics, and then I do private lessons as well,” Benning said. “I just recently branched off and I now have expanded into an AAU program as well.”
Besides her business, she has worked with high school teams and has coached boys’ and girls’ elementary teams in the past. Benning has also officiated basketball which includes at the collegiate level.
She has already decided that her energy will be one of her biggest factors to guide the Eagles.
“I plan to bring my energy in general,” Benning said. “I think that my energy can be different from a lot of other or most [coaches] because I am a relatively younger coach and I'm very passionate.”
When it comes to her ideas for assistant coaches, she wants someone that has a different mindset.
“I'm looking for someone that can balance me because I am a very passionate and more direct person,” Benning said. “I feel like a balance on a coaching staff will be someone like me and then someone that's kind of half of the energy that I have.”
But at the end of the day, Benning wants her convocation of Eagles to be more than a team.
“It is one of those things where if you feel like your coach loves you within that business, it's just more comforting,” she said. “...If my players respect me and they know that I care for them, it doesn't matter what kind of energy I bring, or what kind of passion [I show]… They know I care about them first.”
The Delta community has already opened themselves up and welcomed her. When the hiring was announced on Monday, April 5, multiple Eagle coaches and fans shared the news on social media.
“It's a blessing," she said. “When people welcome you with open arms and comfort in a way to make you feel, in a sense, comfortable, anyone would feel at home when they feel that kind of energy from people. So I've been really appreciative of it. And I just feel blessed that I actually have that.”