Since 2006, all Rattler football coaches have come to depend on the craft of one of it’s behind-the-scenes most valuable players. William Jerrod Bennett has been responsible for logging every practice, scrimmage and game for the Rattlers for the last seven years.
Affectionately known as “Will” by all who encounter him, Bennett was recognized by his peers as the best in the FCS by the Collegiate Sports Video Association on May 16. He was awarded the National Video Coordinator of the Year Award for his professionalism, engagement of new technologies and innovation. Bennett stays on the cutting edge of technology, allowing the best possible imagery and ease of use for all of the coaches.
“I like the fact that most of the coaches call me coach. It relates to the fact that I’m the first line of defense. I am the first person to make contact with an opposing team, as I contact them to exchange game film. I then have to break that down before our coaches even see it. It’s a tremendous responsibility, but it’s one of the things I enjoy about this position,” Bennett said.
Bennett came to FAMU in 2006 after leaving the U.S. Army, where he was a communications specialist. He is a native of Plant City, Fla., and held a post at Florida’s News Channel before coming to FAMU.
Bennett not only assists the football staff, but all 18 sports at Florida A&M. He often travels with other sports to ensure that they are getting the coverage, practice footage and game recordings necessary to be successful. Bennett has integrated the use of GoPro cameras for point-of-view photography, as well as migrating from standard definition to high definition. “When I first started in the video coordinating field, we used VHS tapes. Today we use mini DV tapes, but I am migrating our system to a tapeless setup. Our coaches need every technological advantage I can give them,” Bennett said.
Head coach Earl Holmes has relied upon Bennett’s craft to evaluate his defenses. “When I was defensive coordinator, good video was critical to showing the result of a strategy, or reviewing what went wrong. I’m not surprised at all that Will was recognized for his efforts. This is a chance for the world to see what we already knew. It’s an honor to have him on our team,” Holmes concluded.
“One of the most rewarding things is to be able to see the players grow from freshmen to seniors. Watching them improve their abilities, talent and maturity level, and knowing that you are a part of that is one of the big rewards of this job. I also get the opportunity to mentor some of the athletes as well. Often times athletes come to me with issues that they feel comfortable discussing with me. That’s when I have to switch hats to a life coach, because these kids are at a turning point in their lives, and they need encouragement and guidance,” Bennett said.
Bennett looks at his responsibility as a challenge to always deliver for the coaches. To be recognized by his peers takes that responsibility to a whole new dimension. “I was surprised and shocked to be voted on by my peers. It is truly a humbling recognition. With my military background, I take this award seriously, but can’t rest on it. I feel I have to continue to deliver for our coaches even if it isn’t recognized by anybody but them. Right now, I feel like FAMU is in position to have a great athletic year, and I’m ready to do my part to continue to make our teams successful,” Bennett concluded.