The University of Minnesota announced Monday that deputy athletic director David Benedict is leaving to take the chief operating officer post at Auburn.

As chief operating officer, Benedict will oversee day-to-day operations of the Auburn athletic department.

The University of Minnesota hired Benedict in July 2012 from Virginia Commonwealth, where he was a member of current Gophers athletic director Norwood Teague’s staff and oversaw numerous aspects of that athletic department, including student-athlete welfare and sport supervision.

“We are happy for David and wish him well in this new opportunity,” Teague said in a statement. “In his time here, David used his unique skills and experience to make positive changes in the department. His success here is something that impressed Auburn when offering him this major role.”

The Gophers athletic department will assess current and long-term needs in determining how Benedict’s role will be filled. His responsibilities will be distributed among other member of the department in the interim.

U volleyball gets transfer from Syracuse

Gophers volleyball coach Hugh McCutcheon announced that Erica Handley has been accepted to the university and will join the Gophers volleyball program next semester. Handley, a 6-1 setter who played at Lakeville North and for the Northern Lights club team, is transferring to the Gophers after playing a season at Syracuse.

“We’re excited to have Erica return to her home state and join the Minnesota volleyball program,” McCutcheon said in a statement.

In her freshman year with the Orange, Handley played in all 32 matches and 122 sets. As the primary setter, Handley had 1,073 assists, 73 kills and a team-best 29 aces. Named the ACC freshman of the week twice, Handley ranked 10th in the league with 8.80 assists per set.

She helped Lakeville North win the 2012 Class 3A championship and was a member of the all-tournament team for the second time. She also was a three-time all-state selection, four-time all-conference honoree, a team captain and produced 3,775 career assists.


• Kendra Zeman of Anoka and Rose Hollerman of Elysian, Minn., were named to the 12-member roster of the USA Women’s Wheelchair Basketball team, which will compete in the Women’s World Wheelchair Championships this summer. The tournament will be held June 20-28 in Toronto.

• In the USCHO Division I men’s college hockey polls, the Gophers and St. Cloud State were ranked No. 1 and No. 2. The Gophers received 42 first-place votes and 989 points, while the Huskies received eight first-place votes and 922 points. … In the women’s poll, the Gophers and Wisconsin were ranked No. 1 and No. 2. The Gophers received 15 first-place votes and 150 points, while the Badgers received 134 points.

• The country’s premier figure skating production, Stars on Ice, has scheduled a 4 p.m. performance for May 4 at Xcel Energy Center. The production will feature many of the top skaters from the U.S. Olympic Figure Skating team after they perform in the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.