Beyond Football, The coaching staff trains more than just an athlete


Two years ago, football coach Terrence Mackey was hired to work at Benson. Since then, he has crafted a coaching staff that benefits the players in more than just the aspect of athleticism but also in their academic and personal lives.
“We have two probation officers and an ex-juvenile court judge,” Mackey said. “A lot of people don’t know that’s a unique thing about our staff, only one of the staff members works in the building, everybody else is from outside so we just try to give the kids role models and mentors because there’s more to life than football, it’s about making the right decisions.”
The coaching staff is comprised of successful men that are representative of the football population and their professional backgrounds bring a special dynamic that works with and for the football players.
“We all look the same, we were those kids at one point, and we have the best knowledge to give them because we went through the trials and tribulations of the season and we just work together,” Assistant Jayden Swensen said. “I’m just trying to help as much as I can, I try to talk to all the guys about just life, football is bigger than wins and losses at the end of the day.”
All of the coaches could agree that winning games and improving their performance on the field is very important and they have certainly been focusing on that with enthusiasm and a positive outlook. However, football stays with the players for their entire life through the lessons they learn along the way and not just the accomplishments from their playtime.
“I’ve dealt with Juveniles for twenty years and adults for twelve,” Coach and ex probation officer Forrest Roper said. “The kids I’ve coached have done some great things, whether it’s the NFL or business, working, or trade, I’m so proud of them, I’d hate to see any of the kids in the system.”
The coaches are also mentor the players and happily welcome their players to ask them for any help they may need in their lives. The objective for the coaching program is to get them to graduate and have a mindset of striving to become the best they can possibly be and persevere despite difficult upbringings and the challenges they face.
“I have an open-door pass, just for if you talk to talk about what’s going on because I think if you have somebody who listens to you, I think that allows for kids to express themselves,” Coach Jeremy Wallace said.”
A portion of the coaching staff grew up in the Benson area and some are Benson alumni. They coach here because they want to give back to the community that raised them and to make it a better one.
“I grew up just down the street from Benson, I didn’t know too much about high school football, But once I went to Monroe and started seeing how things worked, I saw how I grew as a man, as an athlete, and as an individual,” Coach Courtney Collins said. “I just want these kids to be able to have the same experiences and be able to look back like ‘aye, this coach did that for me.’”
The coaches certainly care that the team wins more games than they have in the past. Whenever they lose, they make sure the players know that in life, losing is just a part and that the next time they can do better.
“I tell them don’t be quitters, games are going to be hard, it’s going to be hard for you in life,” Coach Mackey said. “But you can’t quit, you have to do your best, as long as you do, you’ll be alright.”