Glacier coach wins national spirit award

Print Article

Grady Bennett and his wife Amy

Glacier High School football coach Grady Bennett has been named the Most Spirited Coach by Varsity Brands.

The announcement was made Saturday during the Varsity Brands School Spirit Awards. Glacier High School will receive $3,000 as part of the award.

The award recognizes a successful coach who makes the connection between athletic involvement, academic achievement and good character while prioritizing sportsmanship according to Varsity Brands. Glacier Assistant Principal and Activities Director Mark Dennehy nominated Bennett for the award. Bennett was among 12 finalists from around the country up for the award.

Bennett’s winning traits are described by Varsity Brands:

“Grady Bennett took a football team that was defeated in their season, and implemented an outstanding regimen of preparation, academic achievement and character development education to completely turn the program around. Coach Bennett’s greatest gift, however, was to provide his team with a purposeful character education program called Pack Strength. Teaching the proper way to treat women and the use of social media are a small sampling of specific lessons that his players receive. His philosophy towards the game has helped countless young boys grow into productive young men.”

This will is Bennett’s 15th year as head football coach. On the field, Bennett guided Glacier to its first Class AA football championship in 2014, finishing with a 13-0 record. The Wolfpack were state runners-up in 2013 and 2016. In the classroom, he teaches business classes.

Character training is a regular part of practice at Glacier. Bennett believes that character must be intentionally taught to be cultivated.

“It’s pretty common to hear that sports teaches character, but in reality I think sports reveals character,” Bennett said. “I believe in a lot of programs we assume these good, positive lessons are going to be inherently learned and I’m not sure it happens all the time. You have to be intentional.”

Pack Strength is part of that intentional training. About 15 minutes of each practice is set aside to talk about different character traits.

“It’s hard when there’s only so much time in the day to give up 15 minutes,” Bennett said.

While coaches and players could devote every minute to drills — they see the value of Pack Strength.

“So many things in our lives are so fleeting. The only thing that counts — the only thing that truly lasts — is character. If we can help our guys build some solid character they can take with them — and go into life ready to deal with the ups and downs — that’s worth something.”

As a winner, Bennett and his wife, Amy, were flown to Orlando, Florida by Varsity Brands to attend the awards ceremony, which was replete with a red carpet.

“It was a great experience,” Bennett said. “On a personal level, it’s nice a feeling of validation that the work we’re doing, the time that we put in, pays off.”

The Varsity Brands School Spirit Awards Show will be broadcast on CBS Sports Network on June 10.

Reporter Hilary Matheson may be reached at 758-4431 or

Print Article

Read More Local News

Fire damages old Plum Creek mill

May 23, 2018 at 10:29 am | Daily Inter Lake A late-night fire heavily damaged the old Plum Creek sawmill in Columbia Falls on Wednesday morning. “It was going pretty good,” said Columbia Falls Fire Chief Rick Hagen when firefighters arrived...


Read More

Lots of road work on tap in Flathead County

May 23, 2018 at 5:00 am | Daily Inter Lake Flathead Valley motorists can expect lots of road construction work not only this year but also over the next five years. The Montana Department of Transportation has about $30 million worth of cons...


Read More

Grant eyed for U.S. 93 bypass completion

May 23, 2018 at 5:00 am | Daily Inter Lake State highway officials in western Montana are eying a new federal grant program that could help them convert the south half of the U.S. 93 bypass around Kalispell into a four-lane highway. Ed Toavs...


Read More

FVCC breaks ground on new library, learning commons

May 23, 2018 at 5:00 am | Daily Inter Lake Flathead Valley Community College held a groundbreaking ceremony Monday to celebrate the start of construction on a new library and learning commons. Construction of the $3 million library marks sta...


Read More

Contact Us

(406) 755-7000
727 East Idaho
Kalispell, MT 59901

©2018 Daily Inter Lake Terms of Use Privacy Policy