Basketball's Billy Bennett: Where Are They Now?
Wednesday, January 25, 2017
Basketball's Billy Bennett: Where Are They Now?

Billy Bennett played during coach Don Meyer's first three seasons at Lipscomb and left as one of the top career scorers with 1,292 points. Bennett has not been forgotten, but he has dropped from No. 26 at the beginning of the season to No. 27 overall in scoring thanks to the shooting of Josh Williams who continues to climb the scoring ladder. Bennett spent some time this week talking with Lipscombsports.com.

What years did you play at Lipscomb? Who were your coaches?

"I played basketball from 1974-78. My coaches were Charles Strasburger and then Don Meyer."

Why did you choose to attend Lipscomb?

"At the time the program was very good and the attendance was very good. The spirit of the school was outstanding. It was in a nice city … Nashville.

"I was from the Atlanta area. I had some offers from some bigger schools. Georgia and Georgia Tech both wanted to use me as a shooting guard in zone situations. I wanted to play all the time, not just when the other team was in a zone."

What is your fondest athletic memory at Lipscomb?

"Probably one of my best memories was the attendance at the games, especially when we had `Bison Day'. We would have four or five thousand people at games.

"We were real competitive. The problem was we were an independent. We didn't play in a conference and as an independent you had to win 30 games to move on. We were always up at the top. Some of the stronger teams in the state were independents.

"We would play teams like Harding and Freed-Hardeman and the gym would be full. And we had the rivalry with Belmont. We beat Belmont back then. We had some really rough games with them, but we always had the upper hand.

"We played Belmont at their gym one night and it snowed.  They wouldn't let any cars on the road. Students from Lipscomb walked to the game. Still the place was full even though people couldn't drive."

What do you think about being passed on the all-time scoring list?

"There is always going to be somebody coming along to challenge you.

"We weren't a run-and-gun type team under coach Meyer. We were very low scoring.

"When Strasburger was there we scored more points. Coach Meyer came in and slowed everybody down. His theory was he wanted teams to play us man-to-man against our motion offense."

Who had the biggest influence on you during your athletic career at Lipscomb? How?

"Meyer was very young when he came in. He was a competitive guy. He was a fundamentally-sound coach, but he was set in his ways. There was a right way and a wrong way with him.

"Strasburger was really, really challenging. We were in the best shape of any team in the country back in that day. He was a real competitive guy."

What is your fondest non-athletic memory from your time at Lipscomb?

"The school was a great place. I liked the city. I liked the school. We had some great professors. They really worked with you.

"You were not a number there. I knew all of the professors. It was a good atmosphere."

What is the most valuable thing you gained or learned from your time at Lipscomb?

"A work ethic, treating people fair and being honest. People were nice.

"I have always been in sales. You have to be honest and treat people fairly.

"I know the campus has changed a lot. We went to Bible classes and chapel every day back then. It was fairly strict. It has changed a little bit as it has gotten bigger. It was a closer-knit campus back then than it probably is today."

Who was your favorite professor? Why?

"I had a lot of them. Mack Wayne Craig and Carl McKelvey were my favorite Bible professors. They were both outstanding. They were great people. They were outstanding men. They were at every basketball game. The professors and administrators were always at the games.

"I was a business major. Dr. Axel Swang was the best accounting teacher I have seen in my life. He was very challenging as a teacher.

"He was teaching a business class, I think it was economics. He would come into class and not even have a book. He had it all memorized. He would come in and start writing on the board.

"I asked him why he didn't teach us something we could use in our lives like how to read the stock market. I wanted him to teach us how it works.

"He closed the door of the classroom and told us to each bring a newspaper to class for the next two weeks. He completely changed everything in the class and taught us how the stock market worked and the percentages. He taught us the whole deal. He was unbelievable."

Where do you live now?

"I have lived in Florida for about 30 years. I am in the central part of Florida in Auburndale which is halfway between Orlando and Tampa."

Who is your employer? What is your occupation? What does your position entail?

"I am in sporting goods and promotional products sales. I cover the entire state of Florida. I work for my own company called Southeast Sales."

Tell us about your family.

"I met my wife, Wanda, in Asheville, North Carolina before I moved to Florida and we have been married ever since. We have two sons, Dee and Andy, who work together in sales in Texas.

"Dee graduated from Florida State. He was a really good basketball player and had some offers at some smaller schools but decided he didn't want to go that route.

"Andy was a real good baseball player. He started at first base at Auburn."

My email address is billysss@aol.com.