By Sam Jordan
(MENA) Though not a stranger to Mena, he is returning to a familiar place on Friday nights, this time as the new Mena Bearcats head football coach beginning with the 2019 season.
Craig Bentley was previously the Defensive Coordinator for the varsity team and before that, the Junior High coach. Prior to accepting the head coaching duties at Mena last week, Bentley served as the Mansfield football coach and co – athletic director.
At Mena, Bentley will act as the Assistant Athletic Director to Shane Torix, who is now the Athletic Administrator. In addition, Bentley will be the Physical Education teacher at the high school.
Bentley is really excited abut the new job and “said that it is surreal” in being able to come back to his alma mater and coach his high school team. Bentley knows most of the players in the entire program, providing an easy transition between the players and himself.
Bentley said that “they are great kids and its a great community” to be a part of. “Everybody knows how sports goes for a community like Mena, everything goes hand-in-hand and wants to continue that great relationship for the community” with our athletic programs and staff.
Bentley recently met with the kids of both the varsity and junior high programs, and feels that “we can really do something special with this team” and quickly added that “they really need to get after it and work hard, both the students, but also the staff as well.”
Bentley wants to ensure a “smooth transition” between Coach Harper, the students and himself, and wants to make it as smooth as possible.”
Bentley is looking at installing the “spread” offense with various multiples and will adapt his defensive schemes to the makeup of the team. As far as the junior high program, “those kids are just as important to the coaching staff, as much as the varsity program” and further stated that they are the future of Mena football.
Bentley stated that being named the new football coach is “not the dream job, but, the job” for someone that graduated from Mena, was an assistant coach previously and is now being able to come home again. Bentley is looking forward to completing his coaching staff in the not so distant future, prior to the start of preseason workouts for the Bearcat program.