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Benedictine College Preparatory

Benedictine College Preparatory is a private, Roman Catholic military high school in Goochland, Virginia. It is part of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Richmond and is owned and operated by the Benedictine Society of Virginia, part of the American-Cassinese Congregation.[2] Benedictine offers education through a private military institute model, which has long been a traditional form of education for young men in Virginia.[3]

Benedictine College Preparatory
Benedictine College Preparatory.jpg
12829 River Road


School typePrivate, Military, Day, College-prep
MottoEcce Homo
(Behold The Man)
Religious affiliation(s)Roman Catholic
Patron saint(s)St. Benedict
FounderBenedictine Monks
Sister schoolSt. Gertrude High School
PresidentFr. Adrian Harmening, OSB
HeadmasterMAJ Jesse Grapes, USMC
CommandantBrooks York
Enrollment270 (2017)
Color(s)Green and White         
RivalsSt. Christopher's
Collegiate School
AccreditationVirginia Association of Independent Schools
NewspaperThe New Chevron
YearbookThe Cadet
Benedictine College Preparatory
Benedictine High School (Richmond, Virginia).JPG
Benedictine College Preparatory is located in Virginia
Benedictine College Preparatory
Coordinates37°33′26″N 77°28′35″W / 37.55722°N 77.47639°W / 37.55722; -77.47639Coordinates: 37°33′26″N 77°28′35″W / 37.55722°N 77.47639°W / 37.55722; -77.47639
ArchitectFather Michael McInerney
Architectural styleRomanesque Revival[1]
Part ofMuseum District, Richmond, Virginia (#94000153)
Designated CPMarch 7, 1994


Benedictine College Preparatory was founded in 1911 with 29 students, under the name of Benedictine College, by a group of Benedictine monks from Belmont Abbey in North Carolina.[4] Seeking to continue the work of their founder by establishing learning and culture, they came to Richmond to establish a Catholic high school for boys. They adopted the successful and prestigious military academy type model, which also meshed well with the monastic life of the monks. The order, discipline, and hierarchy of the military are very much analogous to the structures in the monastery and the Church. The aim was, and continues to be, to form young men in body and soul—to nourish a love of Truth, foster the life of virtue, and promote a healthy life.

In 2009, the school board was dissolved and Headmaster John McGinty was ousted by a vote of 11 senior monks of Mary Mother of the Church Abbey. Fr. Gregory Gresko, OSB, the second-in-charge of the abbey, said that McGinty's contract was not renewed for financial reasons. The school, whose enrollment under McGinty had risen to 267, was under financial stress and running on a deficit. Gresko took on the position of temporary headmaster, saying that having a Benedictine in a leadership position after years of absence was "returning to our roots."[2]

On August 1, 2011, Benedictine High School changed its name to Benedictine College Preparatory "to reflect the school’s goal to become more academically rigorous."[5]

In April 2011, Benedictine announced that it was selling the school's historic campus on Sheppard Street in Richmond's Museum District to the Catholic Diocese of Richmond,[6] and planned to move forward with plans to move the school to Goochland, Virginia. The sale included a buy-back option for the school in case the plans to move the school fell through.

In the fall of the 2013-2014 semester, Benedictine College Preparatory moved to the Mary Mother of the Church Abbey location and the sale of the Sheppard Street campus was finalized. The campus was sold to the Catholic Diocese of Richmond, though Benedictine still plays home basketball games and hosts a number of events at the historic Memorial Gymnasium. The sale to the Diocese allowed for continued parking at the church during Sunday mass at the adjacently located St. Benedict's Parish, which was a continuation of a preexisting arrangement with the Parish. This also allowed for the renovation of the Mary Mother of the Church Abbey campus, which formerly served as home to St. John Vianney Seminary, for reinstalled educational use. Mary Mother of the Church Abbey is located in Goochland County and the school received backlash from some local residents and several alumni for the desire to sell the historic Sheppard Street campus and move so far from the urban campus that was the school's home for 100 years. The sale of the Shepard Street campus was estimated to be around $5.5 million and was used to renovate the Abbey campus, as well as to build additional facilities for the students at the new campus.


Headmaster Years Principal Years
position created Fr. Andrew T. Doris, OSB 1949–1959
Fr. Christopher Johann, OSB 1955–1956
Fr. Adrian W. Harmening, OSB 1962–1981
James N. McGinnis 1983-1989
David A. Bouton, PhD 1997–2000
Mr. Rickey A. Kolb, PhD 2000-2003[7]
Mr. John B. McGinty 2003–2009
Joseph E. Gressock 2008–2014
Fr. Gregory Gresko, OSB 2009–2010
[Major] Jesse Grapes, USMC 2010–present

Student lifeEdit

All students at Benedictine participate in the school's military leadership program. The students are known as the Corps of Cadets, and this inspired the school's athletic nickname: the Cadets. From the school's founding in 1911 through the late 1960s, the school employed a private military institute model and was not affiliated with any branch of the United States Armed Forces. Beginning in the 1960s, Benedictine adopted the U.S. Army JROTC program, which continued at the school until 2016. The JROTC program at Benedictine held the highest rating given by the U.S. Army – Honor Unit with Distinction – which allowed the school to nominate directly a student for appointment to a service academy or for an ROTC scholarship. Many Cadets have used this honor and attended the service academies and other military colleges (most notably Virginia Military Institute) to further their education. In 2016, Benedictine discontinued longstanding relationship with the U.S. Army JROTC program and returned to the private military institute model, however it is still modeled after the U.S Army.[8] The military leadership program at Benedictine offers students the opportunity to participate in a number of activities including the Drill Team, Rifle Team, and the Pipe and Drum Corps, as well as the opportunity to hold leadership positions as cadet non-commissioned officers and cadet officers throughout the Corps.[9]

Benedictine also offers a number of other clubs and organizations including a "Battle of the Brains" Quiz Bowl team, the National Honor Society, Model General Assembly, Model Judiciary, Student Council, Spanish Club, Latin Club, Key Club, Emmaus Group, RAMPS Community Service Club, Rugby Club, Fishing Club, and the Cadet Choir. The school also has a joint Drama Club with its sister school, St. Gertrude High School, hosts a number of military balls throughout the year, and puts on an annual Benedictine Art Show that showcases works by current Cadets.[10]


Cadets Basketball

Warren Rutledge was head coach of the Cadets for 43 years and amassed 949 total wins, making him the winningest high school coach in Virginia and eleventh in the nation.[11] The Benedictine basketball program has won 25 Virginia State Catholic titles from 1959, 1961, 1964, 1965, 1967, 1968, 1970 through 1985, 1994, 1999, 2000 and 2003.[12] The Cadets also hold five VISAA State Championships for Boys' Basketball for the 2003, 2007, 2008, 2011, and 2013 seasons.[12] Since the early 1950s the Cadets have played home games on "Coach Rut Court" in the Memorial Gymnasium on the now former Benedictine campus. For three seasons, from 1951 to 1954, Benedictine's Memorial Gymnasium served as host to the University of Richmond's basketball team, before the opening of Richmond Arena. Also, since 1966 Benedictine has hosted an annual holiday boys' basketball tournament, the Benedictine Capital City Classic.[13]

Cadets Football

The football program won the VISAA Division III Championship in 2000 and 2001 and the VISAA Division I Championship in the 2014-2015 season and the 2015-2016 season.[14] The Cadets football team plays its home games at Bobby Ross Stadium which is located at the Mary Mother of the Church Abbey campus in front of the main academic building and chapel.

Cadets Wrestling

The Benedictine wrestling program won four consecutive VISAA State Championships in 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017.[15] Benedictine hosted the premier wrestling program in the Richmond metropolitan area and among Virginia independent schools.[16]

Other Sports

The Cadets have earned VISAA State Championships in the following sports as well:

Baseball - 2000, 2010, 2017, 2019 (2010, 2017, and 2019);[17] Cross Country - 1980;[18] Soccer - 2001 & 2006[19]

Benedictine also fields teams in lacrosse, golf, tennis, indoor & outdoor track & field, rugby, swimming, and fishing.[20] Rather than do traditional fundraising methods, each year Benedictine hosts an athletic event known as the Benedictine Boxing Smoker which features several bouts of collegiate boxing and has included teams such as the Virginia Military Institute, Penn State, University of Maryland, Georgetown University, the University of North Carolina, East Carolina University, and Wake Forest University, among others.[21] Also notably, ex professional WWE wrestler Rick "Nature Boy" Flair had a match at the boxing smoker.

Prominent graduates of the Benedictine athletic program include 2016 Olympic Gold Medalist swimmer Townley Haas, college and NFL Head Coach Bobby Ross, former NBA Head Coach John Kuester, former NFL offensive lineman Patrick Estes, NFL defensive lineman Nigel Williams, NBA forward Ed Davis, and NBA guard Michael Gbinije.

Athletic DirectorsEdit

Athletic Director Years
Fr. Patrick Donahue, OSB 1953–1956
Mr. Courtney Driscoll 1956–1957
Mr. Warren S. Rutledge 1967–1999
Mr. Wes Hamner 1999-2004
Mr. W. Barry Gibrall 2004-2013
Mr. Ryan Hall 2013–2018

Notable alumniEdit


See alsoEdit

Notes and referencesEdit

  1. ^ "West of Boulevard National Register Nomination" (PDF). Virginia Department of Historic Resources. Retrieved May 24, 2011.
  2. ^ a b "Monks oust Benedictine headmaster". Richmond Times-Dispatch. Retrieved January 10, 2016.
  3. ^
  4. ^ "1968 Benedictine High School Yearbook". Retrieved January 10, 2016.
  5. ^[permanent dead link]
  6. ^[permanent dead link]
  7. ^
  8. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on March 20, 2017. Retrieved March 19, 2017.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  9. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on March 20, 2017. Retrieved March 19, 2017.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  10. ^
  11. ^ 2009 National High School Sports Record Book
  12. ^ a b
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on March 20, 2017. Retrieved March 19, 2017.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  22. ^ Bruck, Connie (May 1, 2017). "How Hollywood Remembers Steve Bannon". The New Yorker. Retrieved April 24, 2017.
  23. ^ GILLIGAN, GREGORY J. (August 10, 2016). "Richmonder Townley Haas' family in 'pure pandemonium' after he wins Olympic gold medal". BH Media Group. Richmond Times Dispatch. Retrieved August 10, 2016. the Henrico County native won his first Olympic gold medal" ... "Haas family house in the Church Run subdivision in western Henrico shortly after the Benedictine College Preparatory graduate received his gold medal
  24. ^ Forster, Mike. "From Cadet to CEO". Benedictine College Preparatory. Retrieved August 4, 2017.
  25. ^ "BLILEY, Thomas Jerome, Jr. - Biographical Information". Retrieved October 21, 2017.
  26. ^ "John Kuester, Los Angeles Lakers, Advance Scout - RealGM". Retrieved October 21, 2017.
  27. ^ "Mark Crow Bio | THE OFFICIAL SITE OF THE ATLANTA HAWKS". Retrieved October 21, 2017.
  28. ^ Player Bio: Ed Davis
  29. ^ Wilson, Ryan (March 26, 2019). "Clelin Ferrell NFL Draft profile: Everything to know about measurements, strengths, team fits". CBS Sports.

External linksEdit