Who is who: Corinne Bénintendi, coach at Union Hainaut Basket-Saint Amand
Who is Who: Corinne Bénintendi, the UHB-SA head coach
Corinne Bénintendi is well known in the basketball community in France.
She had played basketball at the highest level and also for the French national team.
She was the coach of Challes-les-Eaux for many years and for many seasons the only female coach of a club in the LFB.
She is currently the coach of Union Hainaut Basket-Saint Amand, a club playing in NF1.
If she was in a who-is-who directory, the entry would resemble something like this:
Bénintendi had played basketball for Challes-les-Eaux between 1988-1993 and had won two national championships.
She had finished her career with Tarbes where she had been twice French player of the year in 1995 and 1996.
She had also been a member of the Tarbes team that had won in 1998 the Ronchetti Cup (today FIBA Europe EuroCup).
She also had the honour of playing for France 48 times between 1984 and 1996. Outside basketball she was a local government councillor in Challes-les-Eaux from 2001 until 2009.
She was the coach with Challes-les-Eaux from 1998 until the end of 2008-2009 and is now the new coach of Union Hainaut Basket-Saint Amand.
She speaks about how she got the job and about the development of women playing basketball in France.
Who is Who and what is needed at Union Hainaut Basket
The explanation below is contained in her Who-is-who audio on the right side of the page.
(Note: If you are using Internet Explorer click twice on the triangle)
Bénintendi speaks in French and starts with an explanation of how she came to be coach of UHB-SA.
She explains that the history of her departure from Challes-les-Eaux is well known and that she continued with her other job as councillor.
Later in the summer she was contacted by Jean-Pierre Boulanger, the president UHB-SA. After discussions with him she felt comfortable to accept the job although she knew that she was not his first choice.
Her decision to accept was based on her feeling and the history of women playing basketball at the top level in the region.
Another attraction was the opportunity to rebuild and try and take the club back to its former place in the elite.
In terms of basketball she has nothing to complain about because the conditions are perfect for her as well as the players.
The environment and facilities are the same as in clubs of the Ligue Féminine de Basketball (LFB).
They train twice a day and they have eight players on professional contracts. On top of that the president is allowing her a free hand to run the team in her own manner.
She did not have the same freedom while she was at Challes-les-Eaux.
The objective is to take the club out of NF1 and return to the LFB as quickly as possible, although under no pressure from the president as they have to try their best with the actual team roster.
After the freedom with recruiting in the LFB, the rules in NF1 are challenging because because you are only allowed to play five new players in one match.
In addition only two non-French players are allowed whereas in the LFB four non-French players are allowed. That is the main reason that they only have eight players on the professional roster this season.
Another challenge is the style of basketball played in NF1, it is more physical and less tactical than in the LFB.
In the LFB the players know what they are supposed to do and learn quickly while in NF1 the play makers or ball carriers play an important role as they must conduct the play.
For UHB-SA the most difficult aspect is that no matter who they play they are the team to beat because of the name of their club.
People have forgotten that the club has very little in common with the past glories of USVO and Saint Amand. Every match is tough and it is difficult for the players - they have to remain focused while remaining modest.
Against popular belief, they are not the strongest team in the league according to Bénintendi. She went to explain further and used Charleville-Mézières as an example of a team that is stronger and have a more solid game that makes them stronger that UHB.
As far as she is concerned there are clubs in the league that are stronger and better than them. Although she makes no excuse for this, she is new and has her style and the players are new so it should take time to get everything in place.
So the challenges at Union Hainaut are many. But who is who at the club: Jean-Pierre Boulanger is the president, and Corinne Bénintendi is the head coach.