No one realized Saturday’s softball matchup with Gordon Central and Chattooga would be Coach Jeff Bennett’s 300th win. Coach Bennett made no mention of the milestone. There were no balloons or fanfare for the coach. The Lady Indians won 8-0 and sometime later Coach Bennett mentioned to his daughter the victory was his 300th win coaching softball. Coach Bennett also amassed 313 baseball wins as a head coach.
“I enjoy coaching these young ladies and the ladies before them, they have done the hard work,” Bennett said. When asked why Coach Bennett failed to mention the milestone, he simply replied, “I didn’t want to make it all about me.”
This is Coach Bennett’s 41st year between the Chattooga and Trion school systems teaching and coaching. Coach Bennett has coached softball, baseball and football.
AllOnGeorgia asked Coach Bennett’s daughter Beth to share some of her favorite memories: “My memories are not necessarily connected to the wins that Dad has had in his career. What I will always remember are the countless hours that he has put in making sure his players know how to be successful on and off the field. I’m very blessed that I have been able to watch my Dad do what he loves for so many years and I’m very thankful for all of the time that we have spent together. I will say that Dad always keeps things interesting. He likes things done his way and on his time schedule.”
Beth recalls some funny moments over the years when things happen out of his control, like rain or black cats running in front of the bus, “he has always managed to find his own way around those obstacles, we have dipped water off of home plate with a SOLO cup more times than I can count after rain storms and he has even called in a helicopter to dry the field for a state playoff game. I also remember when he completely stopped a school bus IN SCHOOL traffic, backed it back down the road and went the other direction because a black cat ran in front of the bus before a playoff game. The stories and memories are priceless.”
Beth’s daughter, Emma Howard, is an outstanding softball player on the Chattooga Middle School team which is currently undefeated. Coach Bennett plans to coach his granddaughter in high school starting next year. The next few years will be very memorable for the legendary coach and his family.
Emma “has been fighting to make this happen since she was a little girl”, she has always wanted to play for her Pop. Beth never played on her any of her Dad’s teams, “when I played softball he was coaching football and those seasons were going on at the same time,” said Beth.
Assistant Coach Richie McWhorter has been coaching along side Coach Bennett for 14 years, Saturday was McWhorter’s 200th softball win. “Coach Bennett and I have had some great seasons together, and loads of fun, he’s my brother. Coach Bennett is a great role model and a great coach… I’m very lucky to have gotten to coach with him all these years,” said McWhorter. McWhorter started coaching with Coach Bennett at Bennett’s 100th win milestone.
Up next for the Lady Indians:
The Lady Indians will host Dade County Monday at 5:30, Tuesday the Indians will host Pepperell at 5:30, and Wednesday the Indians will host Coosa in a doubleheader starting at 5:00, the seniors will be recognized between games.