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David Bennett to speak at MLK Breakfast

Former Catawba College head football coach David Bennett will serve as keynote speaker at the 21st annual Martin Luther King Breakfast on Jan. 15.

The Salisbury-Rowan Human Relations Council sponsors the annual event at the Salisbury Civic Center, 315 S. Boundary St.

The breakfast begins at 7:30 a.m. and kicks off a day of citywide festivities as part of the national holiday honoring the slain Civil Rights leader.

Advance tickets to breakfast are $5.

For more information about tickets for the breakfast, call Melissa Hasty Taylor, human resources director for the city of Salisbury, at 704-638-5229.

Bennett recently completed his fifth year as head football coach for Coastal Carolina University, in Conway, S.C.

He previously served seven years as head football coach at Catawba.

After joining the Catawba staff in 1990 as an assistant coach, he was promoted to head coach in November 1994. As head coach, Bennett posted an overall record of 63-17 at Catawba and received four SAC Coach of the Year honors and three AFCA South Region Coach of the Year honors.

Bennett led the Indians to three consecutive appearances in the NCAA Division II playoffs, including a run into the national semifinal round in 2001.

This year, Coastal completed only its fourth year of football play as Bennett led the Chanticleers to a 9-3 record, including a 4-0 mark in the Big South to earn its third consecutive Big South crown and the program’s first-ever berth in the NCAA Division I Football Championships.

Bennett has a 34-11 record during his four years with the Chanticleers and has never had a losing season in his 11-year head coaching career (97-27 overall).

Bennett has also received honors for his efforts by the All-American Football Foundation with the Johnny Vaught Outstanding Head Coach Award.

In his community, Bennett serves on the local United Way board of directors and the Jackson Center for Values and Ethics. Additionally, he has served as the honorary chairman for the local March of Dimes Walk America.

Raised in Cheraw, S.C., Bennett earned 10 varsity letters at Cheraw High School, where he was named All-Conference in football, basketball, tennis and track.

A three-year-starter in football, including the final two at quarterback, he led the Braves to a 20-4 record his final two seasons, including the 1979 AAA State Championship.

A 1984 graduate of Presbyterian College, Bennett lettered in football and golf while earning a bachelor of arts degree in history and social studies, with a minor in coaching. He earned the Unsung Hero Award from his teammates for his play during the 1983 season. He also began his coaching career at Presbyterian, working with the wide receivers as a student assistant.

Bennett earned his master’s degree in guidance and counseling in 1986 from Clemson University, where he worked with the running backs on the Tigers’ 1986 Atlantic Coast Conference Championship squad. While at Clemson, he coached in the Independence Bowl and Gator Bowl.

In 1987, he served as the offensive coordinator at Goose Creek High School, an AAAA program in Charleston, S.C. Bennett then coached at Newberry College, before accepting the assistant coaching position at Catawba.

He and his wife, Melanie, have two children, daughter Hayes, 13, and son Jeb, 10.

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