It is the second such honor for Steffan and the first for Benson.
Steffan was honored during the annual Pole Vault Summit in Reno.
Paige Blackburn was selected as the region's top female field athlete.
Scott Steffan, the 2012 USTFCCCA Mountain Region Assistant Coach of the Year, is in his sixth season with the Air Force track and field team, where he serves as the event coach for the pole vault team. Since his arrival in 2008, six men and eight women have impacted the program's top-10 indoor records, while five men and seven women have moved up the Academy's all-time outdoor list.
In his first season with the Falcons, Steffan coached the pole vault program to a record-setting season. Nick Frawley became the program's 21st outdoor All-American, after placing second at the NCAA Outdoor Championships. He also won the Mountain West Conference title at the indoor championships, while claiming all-conference honors in the outdoor meet. On the women's side, Melissa Beerse rewrote both the indoor and outdoor records, while earning all-conference honors during the indoor season. Three other Falcons made their mark on the women's top-10 lists, so Steffan-coached athletes hold the top three spots in the indoor pole vault and the top two spots in the outdoor pole vault. In addition, both Frawley and Beerse participated in the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships.
In 2009, the Steffan-coached pole vault team exceeded its success from his first season. Frawley picked up a pair of All-America certificates, tying for seventh at the NCAA Indoor Championships and placing seventh outright at the NCAA Outdoor Championships. Frawley, who was named the USTFCCCA Division I Mountain Region Indoor Male Field Athlete of the Year, set the Academy's indoor pole vault mark at 18'1". On the women's side, a pair of Falcons' earned all-conference accolades, as Rachel Simmons (indoor) and Kimber Shealy (outdoor) each finished third at their respective championship meets. Shealy, who was named to the USTFCCCA All-Academic Team, moved into the top-three in the program's all-time record book, including a tie for second (12'7½") outdoors.
Steffan's athletes continued to have unprecedented success in 2010, concluding with another All-America honor for Frawley. Following a third-place finish at the NCAA Outdoor Championships, Frawley became the most-decorated Division I All-American, with four citations. The Falcons claimed the top two finishes at the indoor conference championship, as Frawley won his third career title and Chase Cooper placed second. The program's top-10 list received a major revamp for the third straight year, as seven top heights in men's and women's history were accounted for. Shealy, who was named to the USTFCCCA All-Academic Team for the second straight year, became just the second member of the women's team to clear the 13-foot bar during the indoor season.
Despite the graduation of Frawley, the Falcons didn't miss a step in 2011. Cale Simmons concluded the outdoor campaign ranked seventh in the nation (17'7¾") and fourth in the Academy record books. Simmons collected all-conference honors at both the indoor and outdoor conference championships, while collecting a pair of MWC Athlete of the Week awards. Rob Simmons, who joined his twin brother at the NCAA semifinals, also debuted on the Academy's top-10 lists in both the indoor and outdoor vaults. The women continued to shine for the Falcons. Highlighted by Shealy and Tawny Lambuth tying for the second-best outdoor clearance in program history (12'10"), members of the women's team accounted for four of the top-seven indoor marks and three of the top-five outdoor marks in Academy history.
Steffan earned the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches' Association Mountain Region Men's Outdoor Assistant Coach of the Year award in 2012, after his pole vaulters dominated the field at the Mountain West Indoor Track and Field Championships. Simmons claimed conference titles at both the indoor and outdoor championship meets, while breaking both of the Academy records (18'1¼" indoors, 18'1¾" outdoors), picking up a pair of All-America citations and setting a new MW Championship-meet record (18'1¾"). The men claimed six of the top-eight scoring finishes at the indoor championships and five of the top at the outdoor meet. Under Steffan's direction, the men claimed four all-conference titles, while helping Air Force to its first conference team title. On the women's side, Kimber Shealy cleared a new outdoor Academy record of 13'1¾" ... a mark that also broke a 10-year-old facility standard at the Cadet Outdoor Track and Field Complex.
Steffan joined the Falcons' program after spending seven years at the University of New Mexico, where he coached the pole vault and men's multi-event athletes. While with the Lobos, Steffan rebuilt the men's and women's pole vault program. Under his watch, three UNM pole vaulters competed at the NCAA Championships, while at least three qualified for the regional championships during each of his last four years. Also during that time, eight Lobos earned all-conference honors. Steffan coached former Lobo Robert Caldwell to All-America status, in addition to leading Derek Mackel to the NCAA Midwest Regional record of 18'1".
In addition to his work with the pole vault team, Steffan also improved the Lobos' decathlon and heptathlon teams. He guided New Mexico to two decathlon titles, as well as the first MWC heptathlon crown. Coaching multiple decathlon finalists, Steffan has also coached six all-conference honorees in the multi-events and two NCAA Championship participants.
Prior to joining the UNM staff, Steffan spent three years at Wichita State University. While there, he coached All-Americans in the pole vault, triple jump and heptathlon. His women's pole vault team finished first, second and third at the Missouri Valley Conference championships during each of his three years.
Steffan began his collegiate coaching career at the University of Virginia in 1991. During his six years at Virginia, he coached All-American athletes in the high jump, heptathlon, decathlon, 400-meter hurdles and long jump. He also guided 22 Atlantic Coast Conference champions.
An all-Western Athletic Conference decathlete for New Mexico, Steffan graduated from the school in 1991 with a bachelor's degree in education. A native of Aztec, N.M., Steffan and his wife, Joanne, have two young sons - Jake and Trey.