Erle Bennett, head football coach at Centralia High School, has been selected for induction into the Missouri Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame induction ceremony will be held at 6 p.m. on Dec. 6, at Tan-Tar-A Resort in Osage Beach.
Bennett arrived in Centralia in 1989 as an assistant coach and spent five seasons working as the defensive coordinator and offensive line coach. In 1994 he was promoted to head football coach. During the past 19 seasons, the football program at Centralia, under Bennett's leadership, has become one of the elite programs in the State of Missouri, according to a press release from Centralia High School.
During his tenure, the Panthers have compiled an overall record of 167-46, capturing Clarence Cannon Conference and Class 2 District Titles in 2002, 2003, and 2006-2011. In addition, the Panthers claimed the 2003 Missouri Class 2 State Championship as well as a runner-up finish in 2002 and a semi-final appearance in 2009.
Prior to coming to Centralia, Bennett spent time as an assistant coach at North Nodaway High School and as the head football coach at Worth County High School.
During his career Bennett has accumulated many honors for his work while compiling an overall record of 173-76. He has been recognized by his peers as the Clarence Cannon Conference Football Coach of the Year nine times since 1996 and was named the Missouri Class 2 State Coach of the Year in 2003. From 2005 to 2012, Bennett's teams compiled a 70 game regular season winning streak. Bennett already stands as the all time leader in career wins at Centralia High School, topping a list that includes other Missouri Football Coaches Hall of Fame members such as Pete Adkins, Gary Miles, and Shane Cavanah.
Bennett is a native of Cameron, having graduated from Cameron High School in 1981 and from Northwest Missouri State University in 1985. His mother, Elizabeth Eulinger of Independence, is an avid fan of her son's teams and travels to Centralia to watch them play often. Bennett and his wife, Danielle, also a teacher at Centralia High School, have three children, Mary Kate 10, Claire 8, and Cullen 6, all students at Centralia.