The 2023 season marks the second that Connor Benado will coach Southeast Missouri’s inside linebackers and specialists.

Benado spent his first year on the Redhawks staff overseeing defensive quality control and assisting with the outside linebackers.

Inside linebacker Bryce Norman, a First-Team All-Ohio Valley Conference pick, led SEMO in tackles under Benado in 2022. The Redhawks also had the league’s top return man in Dalyn McDonald who led the OVC in both punt and kick return average.

Prior to SEMO, Benado worked two years at Missouri State where he was in charge of special teams quality control.

In 2018, he was a graduate assistant and inside linebackers coach at William Jewell College.

Benado started coaching at MidAmerica Nazarene University in Olathe, Kansas. There, he was the inside linebackers and assistant strength coach for two years. He also worked with special teams, academics football operations and quality control.

As a player at MidAmerica Nazarene, Benado helped lead the Pioneers to the 2016 Heart of America Conference title.

Originally from Oxnard, California, Benado earned his bachelor’s degree from MidAmerica Nazarene in 2016.

He and his wife, Caitlyn, reside in Cape Girardeau.