Craig Bentley of Mansfield High School will be moving back to Mena and will be the next Mena Bearcat Head Football Coach. The Mena School Board approved Bentley’s hiring on Tuesday night.
Bentley became the head coach of the Mansfield Tigers in July of 2016, and in 2018 led the Tigers to their first playoff appearance since 2011. Last season, the Tigers went 8-4 and finished their season in the second round of the 3A State Playoffs.
Prior to becoming Mansfield's head coach, Bentley spent five seasons as the defensive coordinator of the Mena Bearcats. The 2003 Mena High School graduate has also coached two seasons at Springdale, and one season at Pea Ridge, before joining Mena in 2011.
The hiring of Bentley comes after the resignation of Tim Harper, who accepted the head coaching position at Coweta High School in Oklahoma earlier this month. Also joining Coach Bentley in Mena is his newly hired assistant coach from Mansfield, Landon Dover.
Bentley will make his debut as the Bearcats head football coach on August 30th, when Mena will host the De Queen Leopards for their regular season opener at Bearcat Stadium.
Coach Bentley and his wife Sarah have two daughters, Rylie and Harper.
Bentley will also serve as Assistant Athletic Director and as a P.E. Coach. Bentley's wife, Sarah, was hired as a 1st grade teacher at Louise Durham.
"For as long as I've been coaching, I've wanted to be able to have the chance to lead the Bearcat football program," said Bentley in a post on Facebook. "I bleed Bearcat red and black and always will. My family and I are so beyond excited to get back home."
The new Mena coach continued, "Mena is a special place, with special people! We are so lucky to be able to jump right back in the community and get to work by continuing to build a program that players, coaches, the school, and the community can be proud of!"
"To me this is not just another job, it is "THE JOB"! Thank you to the administration and school board for giving us this opportunity! I can't wait to get back to work and we are going to hit the ground running! Go Bearcats!"
Mena Superintendent, Benny Weston, told the Mena Star on Monday, "We are in the interview phase of the open assistant football coaching positions."