Jamie Bender returns to the Alpine skiing program for his second season as an assistant coach for the 2018 season.
While extending its program record to six consecutive seasons with at least one NCAA Championship qualifier, Saint Michael's Alpine skiing sent three competitors to the national meet in 2016-17: Mathias Grimsrud '18, Guillaume Grand '19 and Anna Willassen '20. Grand was among the top 16 in both events, and he repeated as an All-America finisher by taking 10th place in the slalom. Grimsrud was 15th in the same event, finishing 0.79 seconds short of Grand. The Purple Knight trio single-handedly pushed Saint Michael's to a 15th-place showing, matching the previous year's team for the Purple and Gold's top performance at NCAAs since 1988. Three others - one man and two women - narrowly missed the cut for NCAAs, as Saint Michael's skiers scored NCAA points 74 times and cracked the top 20 on 47 occasions during the season. Grand put in three straight podium performances in the slalom to begin the season, and Willassen podiumed in the GS during the UVM Carnival, becoming the first female Purple Knight to do so in the modern era of the EISA. Between the Alpine and Nordic squads, Saint Michael's extended its streak to 16 consecutive carnival finishes of ninth place or better, including three straight seventh-place showings mid-season. The Purple Knights had never placed as high during the EISA's modern era. Saint Michael's scored enough points to place among the top five in 14 events, including as the men won the slalom portion of the UVM Carnival.
Bender is also in his fourth year coaching with the Smugglers' Notch Ski & Snowboard Club, having spent his first two seasons as a International Ski Federation (FIS) coach for skiers at the U-16, U-19 and U-21 levels.
While not having skied collegiately, Bender was a high-level youth racer, qualifying for such events as J3 Junior Olympics and J1-2 Eastern finals. After competing for the Liberty Mountain Racing Team and Ski Roundtop Racing Club in Pennsylvania, during which time he won the Pennsylvania J3 state championship as a high school freshman, Bender attended the Steamboat (Colo.) Mountain School for his final two years of secondary school, competing in FIS racing with the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club.
Bender completed degrees in political science and philosophy in the pre-law track in May 2017, having served as an assistant coach while still a college senior. In fall 2016, Bender was a student intern in the Athletic Department, focusing on NCAA Compliance.