VAUGHT: Bennett has another chance

He's not back in the national spotlight, but it is nice to see former University of Kentucky player Winston Bennett back in college coaching. He's now running the program at Mid-Continent College, a small Christian school in western Kentucky that has competed in the NAIA TranSouth Athletic Conference the last two years.

Bennett certainly has name recognition that could help the school. He was a high school All-American at Louisville Male and was a standout player for Kentucky. He's still 20th on UK's all-time scoring list with 1,399 points. He also grabbed 799 rebounds. Twice he earned all-Southeastern Conference honors before he was drafted in 1988 by Cleveland. He played three seasons in the NBA and scored 648 points.

Bennett coached under Rick Pitino at Kentucky and then with the Boston Celtics. He also was head coach at Kentucky State. However, personal issues forced Bennett out of Boston and Kentucky State. Now he's looking to start over.

He says he appreciates the opportunity he's being given.

"When you've been away from the game three or four years, and a situation is presented to you, that situation is huge," Bennett told the Mayfield Messenger. "I have no less responsibility here than if I was head coach at Kentucky State or an assistant coach at Kentucky. As the president mentioned, when people think of Mid-Continent University, especially athletes, they're probably going to see my face or know that I'm here. That carries a tremendous amount of weight and responsibility."

That's the Bennett I respected when he played and coached at Kentucky. That's the Bennett who was such a good role model for youngsters when he played at Kentucky.

He's made some mistakes, which he readily acknowledges. Now he has his chance to rebuild his career. I am going to be pulling for him not only to make Mid-Continent a winner, but also to restore all the luster to his name and put his career and life back on the path to success that he deserves.

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