April 27, 2004
After a one-year absence, the Big Ten Basketball Foreign Tour teams return to play this summer as Indiana's Kathi Bennett and Penn State's Ed DeChellis will serve as the head coaches. The women will head overseas first, competing in Australia from June 7-17 before the men make their trip with games in Italy from August 10-20. While no tour was held last summer, the men's and women's teams posted a combined 9-1 record during the 2002 Foreign Tour. The women produced an unblemished 5-0 mark in Belgium and the Netherlands that summer while the men went 4-1 in Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands.
Both teams will be making their 12th trip overseas this summer, as the men's tour began in 1991 and has been held every year since with the exception of 2000 and 2003. The women's team started a year later in 1992 and has competed annually except for 2003. Bennett's and DeChellis' rosters will be solidified next month and the teams will gather for training camps in Bloomington and University Park, respectively, prior to departure.
Bennett recently completed her third season as the Indiana head coach, guiding the Hoosiers to the quarterfinals of the 2004 Big Ten Tournament and tying for eighth place in the League standings. She has compiled a 62-57 record in Bloomington and boasts a career mark of 286-160 in 16 seasons overall. In just her second season at Indiana, Bennett orchestrated the Hoosiers' run to the Conference Tournament title and subsequent trip to the NCAA Championship, IU's first since 1995. This past season, the Hoosiers put the nation's fourth-youngest women's Division-I team on the floor, with an average age of just 19. The daughter of former Wisconsin men's coach Dick Bennett previously served as head coach of Teiyko Marycrest (1988-89), Wisconsin-Oshkosh (1989-96) and Evansville University (1999-2000). Bennett will be spending her second consecutive summer coaching overseas, as she helped the United States to the silver medal at the Pan American Games played in the Dominican Republic last summer as an assistant coach.
DeChellis returned to his alma mater as Penn State's head coach last season and guided a young Nittany Lions squad with two starting freshmen guards to nine victories, the most for the program in three years. DeChellis began his coaching career as a PSU graduate assistant from 1982-84. After a two-year stint as an assistant at Salem College, he returned to University Park in 1986 and began a successful 10-year run that included six postseason appearances and the school's transition into the Big Ten. After helping the Nittany Lions to a school-record 12 Big Ten triumphs in 1995-96, DeChellis was named the head coach at East Tennessee State University. Taking over a team that had finished in last place prior to his arrival, the Buccaneers claimed three straight Southern Conference North Division titles in his final three years on campus, culminating with the school's first trip to the NCAA Tournament in more than a decade in 2003.
The Big Ten Conference Foreign Tours have given more than 244 student-athletes the opportunity to travel abroad, as the men have toured such places as Japan, France, Italy, Finland, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, England and Ireland while the women have traveled to New Zealand, Hungary, England, Scotland, Denmark, Sweden, Slovakia, France and Switzerland. In 11 years, the men's teams have posted a 46-29 record while the women's teams have gone 42-18 over that same span.