Rhea County’s Charles Benton Trades Green and Gold For the “Big Orange”
The week of February 9, 1983, was buzzing with the news that Rhea County Golden Eagle’s All-State defensive back Charles Benton had made the decision to further his education and football career by signing with the University of Tennessee Vols.
Benton had stated in an interview that ever since he was a little boy, he always wanted to play for the Tennessee Volunteers. Another reason for his selection of the Tennessee college was the proximity to his hometown of Spring City, Tennessee.
Rhea County football coach Bill Horton stated that during his coaching career, he had never tutored an athlete with the ability of Charles Benton. “He is one of those athletes that comes along only once or twice in a coach’s career”, Horton said.
Benton was credited with him being a big part of the Golden Eagles success in the previous two seasons. During Benton’s junior season in 1981, the Golden Eagles enjoyed a 12-2 record and finished as Class AAA state runner up. Rhea County closed the 1982 season with a 7-4 record and participated in the Tobacco Bowl held at Hartsfield.
By signing with the Vols early, Benton was given a chance to concentrate on his basketball campaign. He was in his fourth year as starting guard for the Golden Eagles.
Charles Benton graduated from Rhea County High School in 1983. After he graduated from the University of Tennessee in 1989, Charles found his calling and dream job as Career Exploration teacher at the Rhea County High School. Charles coached football, baseball, and basketball previously. He was a “Vol for Life”, TN letterman from 1983-1986 and “Voice of the Eagles” for basketball.
Sadly, Charles passed away suddenly on October 11, 2019. Charles was laid to rest in Rhea Memory Gardens in Dayton, Tennessee. He is greatly missed by his family and friends.
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