Thank you to Coach Bentley for being a great coach and mentor
To the editor:
Every once in a while you have certain people pass through your life that change you forever. I’ve had people who have done that for me throughout my time, but not many people have done so like Coach Ed Bentley. Coach Bentley pushed me like I’ve never been pushed before, helped me accomplish things that I didn’t even know that I could, some of that happened on the court, but the majority of it happened outside of that Angola High School gym that I spent so much of my childhood in. He inspired me to best my best self, and people who knew me in high school understand that was something that didn’t always happen.
When I heard the news from one of my former teammates last Tuesday night that Coach Bentley had stepped down, I couldn’t quite wrap my head around it. A man who has devoted the last few years to bringing Angola basketball back to life. People may not remember it, but when I was a freshman at Angola, our varsity team won two games throughout the entire season. Only people inside of that locker room know how toxic that environment was and Coach Bentley came in and changed everything.
From his first year at Angola as Coach Holmes’ assistant to just this past month, he left everything inside of that gym and touched the lives of so many young men who needed it.
It’s a shame that many people will think of Coach Bentley as that bald man on the sideline who yells a lot, because he was so much more than that. As someone who often needed a father figure to look up to growing up, Coach Bentley served as that for me. Yes, I still messed up numerous times (more times than I can count actually) but he was always there to help me grow from it and to hug me when I cried.
He was our Coach, but he was also our best friend. It was always special to me to know that if I ever needed anything, that I knew that Coach Bentley would have my back, and I even know that to this day, six years since I last played for the man.
I have talked to numerous former teammates and friends of mine this past week, guys who I don’t get to speak to very often, which just shows how much Coach Bentley means to all of us. Angola High School isn’t just losing the greatest basketball coach they’ve ever had, they’re losing a mentor for so many people, a person that kids were looking forward to playing for and growing with. No matter how hard my life gets now, I always know that it could be much worse. I always think: “Man, at least this is easier than that Saturday morning practice after we lost to Westview during my junior year.”
So to you, Coach Bentley. Thank you for everything you’ve done for me. Thank you for yelling at me when I needed it. Thank you for holding me when I needed it. Thank you for pushing me when I needed to be pushed. I’m so thankful for the person you have helped me become and I know that so many other former players are thinking the exact same thing. Love you Coach, always will.