Larry Benson is a difference maker. Just ask any of the countless youngsters he has coached over the past 20 years in the DeSoto and Shawnee Mission School Districts.
He’s also a husband, a father and the Blue KC Sporting Samaritans honoree for May, which is presented by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City (Blue KC) and Sporting KC. The Blue KC Sporting Samaritans award spotlights teachers and students who make Kansas City a better place to live, work and play. All honorees are selected from nominations submitted by Sporting KC fans and are recognized during pregame festivities at Children’s Mercy Park…Coach Benson was honored prior to the Sporting KC game on May 3.
All Blue KC Sporting Samaritan honorees and their guests will participate in the on-field experience, receive four tickets to the game, a parking pass and a $50 gift card redeemable for Sporting KC merchandise. Each nominator of selected Blue KC Sporting Samaritans also receive two tickets to the recognition game, one parking pass and a $25 gift card redeemable for Sporting KC merchandise.
“When I found out I had been nominated and selected I couldn’t believe it,” said Coach Benson, who was nominated by four different individuals. “It’s very humbling, almost unbelievable. I’ve never done anything to win an award—I just want to make a difference in the lives of the young people I coach and teach.”
“Some of the people who nominated me are people I’ve grown up with and I never thought about being someone who made a difference in their lives. Now, after receiving this award, I want to make an impact on the lives of those people I’m around. An award like this really does make a difference in your life.”
Benson began teaching as a Special Educator for middle school students in 2002 in the DeSoto School District.
“In 2005 I was given the opportunity to become a physical education teacher which I have been to this day,” he said. “During my time there I coached middle school football, basketball, wrestling and baseball at Mill Valley High School.”
“Two years ago I had the opportunity to teach in the Shawnee Mission School District. Last year I was graciously given the chance to teach at Rhein Benninghoven Elementary where I learned so much. This year I teach at Trailridge Middle School and help coach the wrestling program.”
He also coaches his sons, Brant and Jett, in basketball, baseball, flag football and soccer and teams up with his wife, Whitney, to coach their daughter in basketball and volleyball.
“I love coaching my boys and my daughter,” he said, “I just enjoy coaching—being around the kids, trying to have a positive impact on their lives.”
Any coach wants to win and have success, but there is one aspect of coaching that takes precedent for Benson.