On the heels of his induction in the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame, state champion-Centralia coach Erle (earl) Bennett was presented the Legends Award at the KRES All-Star Football Banquet Wednesday night. Over 22 years as Panthers head coach, Bennett won 206 games, for an average of over nine per season. After finishing as state runner-up in 2002, his Panthers kicked the door down in 2003 going a perfect 14-0 and bringing home the big trophy from the Show-Me Bowl. Bennett said that was a different group in more than one way….

Even with that unblemished team, Bennett said there was also part of the school year he didn’t enjoy….

Bennett guided Centralia football to 70 consecutive regular-season wins from 2005-2012. His 2009 team reached the state semifinals. Bennett said one key to coaching success is longevity….

Bennett’s first head coaching job was at Worth County from 1985-88. He came to Centralia in 1989 and spent his first five years as an assistant coach.

You can find the full interview with Legends Award recipient Erle Bennett by going to the Chariton Valley Magic City Sports Talk page in the sports section of centralmoinfo.com.