Wednesday, September 7, 2011

LeCharles Bentley- Assistant Coach

Walking up to talk with good friend Coach Ted Ginn, before his game with Camden High School at the Herbstreit, I met another old friend. LeCharles Bentley stuck out his hand and flashed his big, old smile. As he said, I evaluated him as a freshman at St Ignatius many years ago. Not really true, but I did watch him as a sophomore.

Bentley was a highly rated OL guy coming out of St Ignatius. He eventually committed to O-State and went on to be an All-American. (By the way the OL coach under John Cooper rejected him twice, before finally offering him.) That is no joke. A first round draft choice for New Orleans. Came home to Cleveland, only to develop a staff infection that ended his career. Now he dabbles in radio and directs an OL Camp in Avon.

As a 63 years "old school guy" who loves working with kids, I am excited about what I see happening in "inner-city" high school football. Young African American former college players are coming back to coach in the city. Just a few years ago, many of the inner coaches were lay coaches who were good at yelling at high school players, but not good at communicating any football coaching points. Now things are changing. Black assistant coaches are working with young people and many have played the game. Most of all, they are teaching the game of football.

I know this sounds "silly," but LeCharles biggest accomplishment is right now. He works with the offensive linemen at Glenville. No yelling, no grabbing, and no swagger. He just works with the kids and is giving back to the community. For me, there is nothing better. A man of LeCharles Bentley's fame spending time developing young inner-city kids. With all of the coaching he did, I never saw an "attitude." Ironically, I used to see a moody attitude in high school, but not now. Thank you, LeCharles Bentley!

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