Benton Reed coaches the men’s distance runners at Lipscomb as an assistant coach. He also serves as the operations coordinator. He ran both track and cross country at Lipscomb, serving as a team captain for three years. He decided he wanted to be a coach and Lipscomb was where he wanted to work. It has been a situation that has worked out well for both him and his wife Emily, a former Lipscomb athlete, who is a teacher at Lipscomb Academy. Reed spent some time this week talking with Lipscombsports.com.
What years did you run cross country and track at Lipscomb? Who were your coaches?
"I ran cross country and track from 2008 through 2012. Bill Taylor was the head coach. Luke Syverson was an assistant starting my sophomore year. Coach Marcus Evans began as a graduate assistant my junior year."
Why did you decide to attend Lipscomb?
"My parents both went to Lipscomb and they showed it to me as an option, but they never really pushed it at all.
“I knew I wanted to run in college. It was Coach Taylor’s first year at Lipscomb. I really got hooked on what his vision was for Lipscomb and the program. I was in his first recruiting class.
“I came for a visit. It was the “Battle of the Boulevard” weekend. I sat on the front row. I think the game went into overtime, but we lost. A cheerleader threw me a shirt. Everything was going really well. The cross country and track teams were awesome. I knew immediately this was where I wanted to be.”
What is your fondest athletic memory at Lipscomb?
“There are so many to choose from. Probably, it would be the trips we went on. I remember going to Vermont with the team and exploring that part of the country. It was the fall and it was amazing. It was a beautiful time there. We got to tour the Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream factory. It was a really cool trip.
“Just exploring a city or exploring something on campus with the team were the best times.”
Who had the biggest influence on you during your athletic career at Lipscomb? How?
“Definitely, Coach Taylor and getting hooked on what he wanted to do with the team. Ryan Chastain was the captain. He did a great job of leading us and really pushing our team to new levels. Between those two guys there was a very good environment that cultivated a winning attitude, a hard work attitude and being patient and getting better year after year instead of looking for immediate results.
“It was about trusting the training and going through the process. That was what we were all about and were really focused on. They both did a good job of explaining that and keeping us hungry.
“Coach Taylor’s vision was winning conference every year and going to the regionals and nationals. When we finally got to that point was a year after I graduated. I was volunteering at that time. It is definitely unbelievable where we are now.
“Coach Taylor has a team first mentality and what you can accomplish as an individual compared to what you can accomplish as a team. We put in miles and miles. It is a lot of hard work, but you really get to see the dividends at the right moments when you do the little things. That is one of Coach Taylor’s sayings and we took it to heart.
”We knew when we stepped on the line that we could look to our left and right and trust that person and that you were going to have a good race and be successful. That gave us a lot of confidence. Striving to win that first conference championship was part of Coach Taylor’s motivation.”
What is your fondest non-athletic memory from your time at Lipscomb?
“The few times we got snow on campus when I was a student. “There were no classes. We were going all over the place and having snowball fights and sledding. Those were great times.”
What is the most valuable thing you gained or learned from your time at Lipscomb?
“When I came to Lipscomb I put God and what I thought he could do in a box. When I got here that just exploded. There was a whole new reality with different guys and different girls from different backgrounds. That really made me wrestle with my faith and what it means to me to be a Christian here at Lipscomb or in the workplace.
“I got deeper into the Word through Lipscomb. College is a big time of growth. I was able to put a lot of the Biblical foundations I knew and trusted. There was so much knowledge that is part of today’s life.
I got to experience that in my business classes, my education classes and on the team. There were all types of different angles and aspects, but at the same time it was the simple message that God came out of love and is doing everything out of love. That is how I try to interact with my athletes is out of love. There is so much more in store for them if they are open to it. You can never limit God. I felt like God was real and I really grew into my faith. I got experience that firsthand when people were praying for me and my family.
“It fires me up. I am constantly learning from the guys on the team. I try to make sure that whoever I come across I can show them God’s love and give them a positive influence. That faith aspect allows us to go to a much deeper level in the coach-athlete relationship. That is something that makes us very unique.”
Who was your favorite professor? Why?
“I majored in Corporate Management and minored in Education.
“Leanne Smith was easily my favorite. She started a mentor class while I was a student. I also had her for another class my freshman year.
“The way she taught kept my attention. They were very interesting subjects. She just made the business world fun. We learned the softer skills, if you will, like leadership, mentoring and influencing that had some `ah, ha’ moments. I didn’t know everything, but through the mentor class I was able to talk to a lot of great people and gain a lot of knowledge.”
Where do you live now?
Who is your employer? What is your occupation? What does your position entail?
“I have been an assistant coach at Lipscomb for two-a-half years. I love Lipscomb. I love everything it stands for.
“I coached at Sewanee (University of the South) for a year. I had a great experience there and I decided then I definitely wanted to coach.
“I got married (to the former Emily Longden) and we moved back to Nashville. I asked Coach Taylor If I could volunteer as a coach. I knew it would set me up for success because learning from the coaching perspective is very different than it is from the athlete’s perspective.
“The assistant coach position just kind of opened up about six months after I started as a volunteer. I was in the right place at the right time.
“I basically work with the men’s distance runners. I am also involved with the operational side making hotel reservations and dealing with travel logistics.”
Tell us about your family.
“I am married to Emily (Longden). She was still on the soccer team at Lipscomb when we met. She played soccer and ran track her freshman and sophomore years and then moved to the cross country team and stopped playing soccer.
“We met through a mutual friend, Ashton Fisher, (on the cross country and track teams) at the training room in Allen.
"We have a dog named Dakota."
My email is reedbp