The photo was taken shortly after Bennett came out with his cancer diagnosis.

The KSC women’s basketball team is suffering the loss of their assistant coach. Rob Bennett was diagnosed with cancer in January of 2021. He died on October 26 at the Jack Byrne Hospice Center in Lebanon, New Hampshire. Women’s basketball head coach Keith Boucher said, “He battled as long as he could.”

When Bennett was first diagnosed last winter, Boucher said, “We did a game for him here. We called it ‘Coach Bennett Strong.’” Bennett began coaching for the Keene State women’s basketball team in fall of 2012, making this his tenth year.

Working together for almost a decade, Boucher said they had a great relationship and reminisced on Bennett’s personality saying, “He really cared about people and it was very obvious.” Boucher continued, “He always put a smile on your face. He knew what to say at the right time to pick people up.”

Assistant Coach Kevin Justice similarly said, “The other thing that he brought that was so important for our staff was a break from the stress.” Justice added on, “When we were getting down as a staff, Bennett was bringing us back up.”

Justice said, “I loved working with Coach Bennett.” Justice also reflects on Bennett saying, “He was a hard worker, no questions.”

Bennett was very committed to the team. Justice said, “He just sacrificed a lot of his own time to just be here with the program.” To describe Bennett’s level of commitment to the team, Justice said, “This is a guy who drove all over New England to recruit. He brought in the majority of our players.”

Boucher added, “He was a principal at a highschool about an hour and fifteen minutes from here. And he would drive over here to practice, and he didn’t miss many practices. Even if it was snowing.” Boucher continued, “It would be a snowstorm and we’d have practice and he’d walk into the gym.”

As well as Bennett’s commitment as a coach, both Boucher and Justice enjoyed the way Bennett thought as a Coach too. Justice said, “He always had a different way of looking at things that allowed us to take a step back and not take ourselves so seriously and really ground ourselves.” Justice said, “When I’m thinking one thing, he’d bring up something that was the complete opposite that I didn’t think of, and I appreciate that; that back and forth.”

Likewise, Boucher said, “We used to have some good disagreements. And everything that came out of it was positive.”

Aside from coaching together, Justice said, “The thing I really enjoyed about Coach Bennett was his spirit and his energy and his humor.” Justice went on to say, “He was just such a fun person to be around.”

Agreeing that Bennett had a memorable personality, Boucher said, “You don’t forget people like that.” He continued, “You have those people for life.”

Having a positive impact on the players as well, Boucher said, “He loved rooting for the underdog. There wasn’t one player on the team that he didn’t try to make a connection with, especially the ones that didn’t get to play that much. He would let them know that they had value.”

Ultimately, Justice said, “The guy was a jokester, he was great.”

Walk through calling hours were held on Thursday November 4, 2021 from 3-6 P.M. at Chadwick Funeral Home in New London, New Hampshire. A memorial service was also held on Friday November 5 at three P.M. at The First Baptist Church of New London in New London, New Hampshire.


Jill Diamond can be contacted at

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