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Bennett in running for national athletic director honor
Stacy Bennett

When Mickey Bayens retired last year after a highly successful nine-year run as Richmond Hill’s athletic director, he said Wildcats athletics were only going to get better under the leadership of Stacy Bennett who was named as his successor.

“I know I can walk away knowing it is in great hands,” Bayens said at the time. “Stacy Bennett will only elevate Richmond Hill High School.”

Bayens knew what he was talking about.

Bennett took over an athletic program that had finished in the top 10 of the Georgia High School Directors Cup standings every year since 2017 – schools are awarded points for success in state playoffs – and was moving up to Class 7A which presented a myriad of questions.

Any doubts about the Wildcats being able to continue that run of success have been erased as Richmond Hill has proven to be the dominant overall athletic program in Region 1-7A and Bennett is earning recognition from his peers for his abilities as an administrator.

The former Wildcats baseball coach—he was 162-96 in nine years including a run of four straight region championships before moving into administration in 2019—has been named the Region 1 Athletic Director of the Year and he has also been nominated by Varsity Brands for National Athletic Director of the Year.

Head football coach Matt LeZotte broke the news about Bennett being recognized in an email as the low-key Bennett would be the last to promote his accomplishments. Just as he did as a coach he deflected any credit for his team’s success to others, namely the players and his assistant coaches.

“Most of you understand how big of a deal this is,” LeZotte said. ““He would kill me if he knew I was sending this. He’s one of the most dedicated and professional athletic directors in the business.

“I couldn’t be more proud to send this email about his nomination. It has been an exciting calendar year since he has taken over leading our athletic department. The successes are not a fluke and the culture that has been created sure is a difference maker.”

Bennett oversees an athletic department that has nearly 30 GHSA sponsored teams and approximately 750 athletes ranging from football to esports and literary (vocal, music, drama, writing).

“Stacy has been a tremendous support taking over the athletic director position,” girls basketball coach Sarah Jones said. “He is dedicated to the Richmond Hill High School student-athlete, not only on the court/field and classroom but also as individuals and helping our student-athletes grow into responsible adults.

“Stacy has given myself and other coaches a great deal of support and has been instrumental in making our jump to 7A an easier transition. He has created a culture that supports both coaches and student-athletes to make our athletic programs successful.”

Richmond Hill stands 11th in the current Director’s Cup standings with 575 points not including spring sports and should see a significant jump once those team’s points are added. Each school’s highest scoring eight teams in boys and girls are used to calculate the awarded points total.

This spring boys and girls soccer both advanced to the third round of the playoffs, girls and boys lacrosse are currently in the second round as is baseball. Boys tennis reached the second round before being eliminated.

Track and field’s state meet is in May and the boys and girls teams are both expected to finish among the top dozen or so teams. Region championships have been won by volleyball, boys and girls cross country and girls soccer. Track and field’s region meet was Wednesday at Valdosta and both the boys and girls were favored to win.

The highest finish to date in state competition among Wildcats teams is a third-place finish by girls cheerleading while girls gameday cheer was fourth.

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