Aaron Benner has accomplished quite a bit as an educator and student-athlete at the prep and collegiate levels. Now the former St. Agnes and University of St. Thomas standout will add yet another accomplishment to his outstanding contributions as a student-athlete.
Benner, who starred in basketball and football at both schools, will be inducted next month into the St. Thomas Athletic Hall of Fame Class of 2023 for his contributions on the gridiron.
Though he played basketball at UST, football was where Benner made his mark. He finished his career among the top five in receptions, receiving yards, all-purpose yards, and punt returns.
He helped the Tommies win the 1990 MIAC championship and reach the quarterfinal round of the NCAA Division III championship game. During that game, Benner accumulated 180 receiving yards in the second half.
After graduating in 1992, earning a degree in criminal justice/law enforcement, Benner obtained a degree in elementary education and teaching at UST through the Urban Education program.
He moved on to education administration after 21 years as an elementary school teacher. He was recently named assistant principal at Hill Murray School in Maplewood.
While at St. Agnes from 1983-87 he starred in football and basketball for the Aggies. As a junior, he teamed up with 1986 alum and current Grassroots Youth Mentoring CEO Brian Sandifer to form one of the metro area’s top backcourts.
I must admit that I only saw Benner once in action and it was not on the gridiron. Both he and Sandifer were on the basketball court leading St. Agnes to a 62-54 non-conference victory over St. Paul Highland Park on December 3, 1985.
As a junior journalism major on winter break from Central State University (Ohio) at the time, the experience got me seriously thinking about following in my father Kwame’s footsteps as a sportswriter.
Benner will be inducted on Saturday, October 28, during halftime of the 1 p.m. Marist game at O’Shaughnessy Stadium.