Marengo athletic director Chad Olson developed great respect for the job Will Benson did while coaching boys basketball at Harvard in the 2010 through 2012 seasons.
“I was thoroughly impressed with him all the time,” Olson said. “I was impressed with how they practiced and how he prepared himself and his team for the games. What stood out when we interviewed people was how thorough and prepared he was.”
Benson, 30, was named Marengo’s head boys basketball coach at District 154’s school board meeting Monday night. He was 26-58 in his three seasons at Harvard.
“I realIy wanted to be a head coach again, and I’m truly thankful the administration at Marengo gave me that chance,” Benson said. “This felt like a good opportunity.”
Benson coached Jacobs sophomore team this season on Hinkle’s staff. He applied for the Jacobs job and was interviewing for both that and Marengo’s job near the same time. He replaces Dave Pettit, who was 25-61 in three seasons as coach.
“I told Chad as this was going on that I didn’t know what was going to happen at Jacobs,” said Benson, a 2001 Crystal Lake South graduate. “If I didn’t get it, I wasn’t going to be in the tank about it. I could see myself happy and a good fit at either place. I’m excited to get going.”
The hiring culminates a whirlwind five weeks for Benson, whose wife Sarah gave birth to their second child, son Brady, on March 25. Their daughter Grace is 5.
Marengo did not have a physical education teaching position, so Benson, will again be teaching at Harvard. It may seem strange when the Indians and Harvard play next season because Benson will coach against current students and former players.
“It may be a little, but that’s only twice a year when we play each other,” Benson said. “They’re the same kids, I’m the same person. We have good relationships. I don’t think it will be as difficult as people on the outside might think.”
Olson and principal Scott Shepard felt Benson will be fine teaching at one school and coaching at another.
“The ideal situation would be to have your coach in the building,” Olson said. “We can’t have that now and we felt what was best was to go forward with the best coach. He has the character of a person who can handle the situation.”