Benson shares love of the game with players after Hall of Fame career and Super Bowl win


Coach Benson encouraging and giving the boys words about football at the Desoto vs. DHS football game on Oct. 24, 2013. (Mireya Ibarra photo)

Coach Benson encouraging and giving the boys words about football at the Desoto vs. DHS football game on Oct. 24, 2013. (Mireya Ibarra photo)

Panther Coach Charles Benson knows what it is like to be a winner. He was part of the Miami Dolphins’ Super Bowl XIX  and played for Baylor alongside NFL Hall of Fame player Mike Singletary. But when he takes his 6’3″,  267 pound frame onto the field on Friday nights his focus is on training high school athletes to be the best they can be and helping them to achieve their goals as a defensive end.

As a kid, Benson said he always enjoyed playing football, but it was in high school when he discovered that he had some talent. He remembers colleges started showing interest in him his senior year of high school and began coming to visit the school to see him play.  However, at the time, he admits he didn’t know much about scholarships, but to his good fortune, a scout for Baylor University was at his school at the right time to recruit him.

“It got close to the deadline to sign to play college, and Baylor just happened to be on campus, so I asked them if they would offer me a scholarship and they said yes,” Benson said.  “They were the first to offer me money to play, so that’s how I ended up at Baylor University.”

 Once Benson arrived ready to play for Baylor, he soon was hit with a reality check. At the time Mike Singletary was playing linebacker, Benson was forced to change the position to defensive end.  Benson admits he was a little bitter because of it, and as a result missed some chances.

“I should’ve taken advantage of the opportunity of being around Singletary on the team,” Benson said.  “He was a great player and I wish I would’ve learned more from him instead of spending my time wanting the position he had.”

After four years of being at Baylor, Benson  had plans to enter the NFL draft. He said the day of the draft was a very nerve racking experience for him, because he was projected to be a first round pick. So once the first round passed and Benson was not drafted, he had to wait until round three to be drafted by the Miami Dolphins by Coach Don Shula, which he said was just meant to be.

“Working with Coach Don Shula was probably one of the best experiences of my professional life,” Benson said.  “I learned that potential doesn’t mean anything if you can’t back it up.”

After winning a Super Bowl his rookie year and spending three more seasons of playing in the NFL, Benson said it was time for him to step away from the game.  He said he wanted to settle down and search for anther job that would make him just as happy as playing the game of football. Ironically at the time, he did not see high school football as being that job.

“ I wasted a bunch of time being selfish thinking that coaching high school football would actually make me miss football,” Benson said.  “But I finally realized that wouldn’t be the case.”

He said he found being a coach actually was good for him. He’s now able to help his players  learn from all his mistakes. He says contentment doesn’t even begin to describe how he feels about his current occupation.

“Its probably one of the best choices I’ve ever made in my life.,” Benson said. “Once I started coaching I did go back and call a couple of my coaches and apologize to them because I didn’t realize how hard the job really was.”

His coaching has helped the Duncanville team as well. Those who know him best say he has a lot to bring to high school football.

 “He brings a lot of passion for working with kids and it’s highly noticeable,” Panther head coach Jeff Dicus said.  “His playing and coaching experience is superior.”

Dicus is thrilled to have Benson working with the team. He hired him this year after hearing about his ability to work with high school athletes at his former school.

“He just adds to the existing family atmosphere that we have, glad to have him here!” Dicus said. “He is great with the players and helps them improve their game.”

Although he originally had different plans, Benson says he doesn’t have too much to complain about right now.

“I always thought that I would coach at Baylor once I finished my professional career,” Benson said.  “But coaching here at Duncanville has been great, and I’m happy with the way things are currently going here.”