CLARKSBURG, W.Va. – Robert C. Byrd basketball head coach Bill Bennett has stepped down from his head coaching position with the Flying Eagles.
Bennett, who has spent the last 19 years with the RCB basketball program, most recently led the Eagles to a 19-2 record and a sectional and regional title this past season.
He said he appreciates all of the time he’s spend coaching at Robert C. Byrd.
“It’s meant everything. Just growing up in Clarksburg and being, I don’t know, I guess a basketball junkie, and being an assistant coach for 14 years or so before that, it’s been really gratifying just to have the opportunity, just thinking back I’m kind of humbled by the whole thing. It was a position that when I was younger I never thought that I would be in so it’s been really gratifying,” Bennett said.
Also in Bennett’s time with the Eagles, he led his 2014 squad to a Class-AA state runner up finish and his 2019 team to the state semifinal.
Bennett touched on all of the players he’s coached and what his goal was for them.
“My prayer is always that I’ve been a mentor or a positive person in their life, able to make somewhat of a difference to them and sometimes you feel a little bit of pressure in that regard because you kind of feel sort of responsible for what kind of person they become. But it’s been really special, we’ve had good kids. We try and help them improve in basketball but I always tell them my number one goal is that 10 or 12 years down the road that I see them and they have successful careers and that they’re good husbands and good fathers. That’s always been our goal for them,” Bennett said.
Bennett also has numerous state tournament appearances during his tenure at Robert C. Byrd. But he said he can’t pick out a favorite memory because they all were special.
“I can’t point to any one thing. I mean I’ve got to experience so much. We’ve played for a couple championships, had opportunities since I’ve been at Byrd and those things are all nice but honestly it’s just everything. It’s every team and every year, everybody that I’ve coached. The whole 33 years have been special and really kind of surreal,” Bennett said.
But he did say the first time he ever coached a state tournament game in Charleston was a moment he will always remember.
“When I got to walk on that floor for the first time, it was very surreal. It was just something that I never ever thought would happen to me and now here we are 33 years later and now I’ve coached 29 or 30 state tournament games,” Bennett said.
He finishes his RCB coaching career with more than 320 wins. Bennett said he’s been thinking about retiring so he can spend more time with his family and be more involved at his church.
“I’ve been thinking about it and honestly praying about it the last couple of years. It’s just when the time is right. I’m just about five weeks from turning 66 years old and I turned my letter in to retire from my teaching job back in January but just waited until this past week to do that with basketball. I kind of known for a while that I was going to do it I just didn’t want it to be a distraction for the kids during the season. I almost did it last year but the way last year ended just couldn’t bring myself to do that,” Bennett said.