New Athletic Director Takes the Helm at Shelbyville
The Shelbyville Dragons had a successful year by many standards. The basketball program advanced deep into the playoffs, even going far enough to secure a trip to San Antonio for their State Championship Basketball Tournament berth.
Shelbyville power lifters enjoyed another big year with Katie Casey becoming a State Champion and Kawon McCowin placing third at the state meet.
The Dragons’ baseball program finished the year as the runner up to the district champion, earning a playoff spot and defeating Chireno in the bi-district round.
Shelbyville also sent several runners to the regional meet, and one young lady, Keanna Osby, went on to became State Champion in the 800-meter and the 400-meter run.
The one blemish on a very good year for the Dragons was football season. A record of 2-8 was the end result of Shelbyville’s time on the gridiron. Shelbyville decided to part ways with interim head coach and athletic director Charles Tindol, in hopes that a change in leadership would be just what the doctor ordered for Dragon Football.
Enter David Benbow, Shelbyville’s new athletic director and head football coach. David Benbow has had what he describes as a “typical coach’s career” bouncing around to several places, most notably Corrigan Camden in 2002 when the Bulldogs won a Football State Championship. He was also a member of their staff when they won overall at the State Track and Field Meet. At that time Coach Benbow served as an assistant coach to Todd York, who he credits as his mentor. Benbow would follow York from Corrigan to Terrell and later to Kaufman. He was also a member of Pflugerville’s coaching staff when they made their way to the state championship game but unfortunately lost to Katy.
Most recently, Coach Benbow spent four years at Shepherd ISD. Shepherd had failed to reach the playoffs since 1991 prior to his arrival. There he began as the defensive coordinator but was eventually moved to offensive coordinator. He and the coaching staff were able to turn the program around and lead Shepherd to a playoff berth in each of the four years he spent there.
Coach Benbow arrived at Shelbyville toward the beginning of the Dragons’ impressive basketball playoff run in February. Since then he has witnessed almost all the accomplishments listed at the beginning of this article.
“I see a group that I think was just looking for some direction, looking for some stability, looking for somebody that’s going to come in and get things organized and get a plan in place and stick to that plan. We spend a lot of time talking in athletics. I probably talk to the kids about as much as any coach does. Most coaches are afraid of giving up two or three minutes of athletics to talk to the kids, because they don’t want to give up that work time, well I think the kids need to understand why we do what we do and how we’re doing things. What I’ve seen so far is a group that is hungry for success. I think they’re hungry to match the level of success in football that we’ve had in basketball and baseball and get this program back on par with the rest of the athletic program.” Coach Benbow said about what he’s seen from his athletes so far.
It’s clear that Coach Benbow has been working and putting in the time to really get to know his athletes. He regularly takes time to explain to his athletes what he expects from them, as well as what they can expect from him, and this seems to be working in a positive way.
“They have responded and done everything that I’ve asked them to do. When I got here, we went out to track practice, and there was myself, an assistant coach, and one athlete. I didn’t yell at them, didn’t threaten them, or any of that stuff, just talked to them about why track is important, and we had 32 kids run at the district track meet. So, they’ve responded. They’ve listened. They’re trying to do things. They’re pleasers. They want to be successful. They just need to be shown how and pushed to that point.” Said Coach Benbow.
As the old saying goes “success breeds success”, and the Dragons’ athletic program has had their fair share of successes this past year. Now the question is, how can they get that success to bleed into their football program.
“I believe that we have a program and a system that’s going to allow our kids to be successful. With that being said, I’ve had great buy-in from our coaches who’ve been here. It would’ve been really easy for them to turn a deaf ear to me. They’ve been very professional. They’re trying to do things the way I want them. They’re learning my terminology and my expectations. The kids see that as well. People talk about having chemistry on the team, but if you don’t have chemistry on the coaching staff, you’re dead on that end of things also.”
Coach Benbow’s focus on Friday nights will be the offense, as he will be calling the plays from that side of the ball. Kyle Stewart will be making the move from Center ISD to become Shelbyville’s defensive coordinator.
After speaking with Coach Benbow, it’s clear that all the pieces are there in Shelbyville. Now it’s about making sure that they all line up properly. Keep an eye out for the Dragons next season. The people of Shelbyville certainly have a lot to be excited for in the following years.