Leaving the court: Chad Benedict to take on new administrative role

MAHOMET — One of the area's most stable boys' basketball coaching positions will be vacated, it was announced Monday, as longtime Mahomet-Seymour leader Chad Benedict will step down to accept an assistant principal position at the high school.

M-S superintendent Lindsay Hall delivered the news Monday afternoon in a press release, and Benedict confirmed the move to The News-Gazette a short time later.

"I knew if I would've gotten through the process and was offered and accepted the job that I would have to be done coaching," said Benedict, who has helmed the Bulldogs since the 2006-07 campaign.

According to the press release, Benedict "will be introduced and officially hired at the April 16" M-S Board of Education meeting, which will be followed by a job start date of July 1. In addition to serving as the boys' hoops coach, Benedict also has been a physical education teacher over the same timespan.

Benedict led M-S to four regional championships, including three over the previous four seasons. His deepest postseason run with the Bulldogs came in 2015, when the club won a Class 3A sectional title and fell just a game short of qualifying for state, losing in the Elite Eight to eventual state runner-up Belleville Althoff.

Benedict previously led the Chrisman boys' basketball program from 1999 through the 2005-06 campaign. With as storied a sideline history as Benedict possesses, he said the decision to leave it all behind was a difficult one.

"When they offered me the job, I kind of had that pang in my stomach," Benedict said. "I was honest with them throughout the process that if you find me as a viable candidate to interview, then we go through that, but I'm also reserving my right to withdraw my name should I decide it's not for me."

Benedict's son, Noah, is graduating from M-S this year after four seasons with the Bulldog basketball team. But the elder Benedict said he had no predetermined plans associated with Noah's departure, instead pointing to a "domino effect" of departures and promotions that opened up a job he coveted.

What made this position especially appealing for Benedict, despite his history within prep basketball, was the opportunity it afforded him in molding the lives of young people.

"One of the things for me was I still get to work with kids," Benedict said. "I'm excited to tell the story of Mahomet-Seymour and its kids and all the stuff they have to offer, and the role of assistant principal will allow me to do that."

Benedict said he's not aware of a leading candidate for the M-S boys' basketball coaching spot, but believes he'll have some level of input into what is ultimately principal Shannon Cheek's decision.

Even as he described that "pang" associated with the emotion of leaving his longtime gig, Benedict also was able to look back fondly on his time spent roaming the Bulldogs sideline, helping bring stability and success to M-S.

"We've been fortunate to win some games, but it's the bus rides, the locker rooms, the practices," Benedict said. "Getting pictures with our former players' newborn sons and daughters, going to weddings. Those are the things that are most rewarding."

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