GRANADA - One of the best kept secrets in southern Minnesota is finally public knowledge.
Terry Bentele, the long-time athletic director and physical education teacher at the Granada-Huntley-East Chain school district, has been chosen as the 2011-12 Minnesota Athletic Administrator of the Year for Class A.
The honor was bestowed upon Bentele during last week's athletic directors' conference in St. Cloud, but the unassuming administrator returned to work on the following Monday without mentioning the award to his co-workers.
BEST IN THE STATE — Granada-Huntley-East Chain High School athletic director Terry Bentele, shown standing in front of the school’s mascot, was chosen as the 2011-12 Minnesota Athletic Administrator of the Year for Class A schools last week in St. Cloud. (Photo by Chip Pearson)
"Hmmm ... we knew he (Bentele) attended the conference, but he never said anything about receiving an award," said Kris Wilk, an administrative assistant at GHEC. "He's pretty modest when it comes to things like that."
Indeed. Bentele generally prefers to stay out of the limelight, humbly giving credit to those deserving around him without drawing attention to himself.
"Really, I work with outstanding coaches, great kids, a hard-working school board and a great superintendent in Paul Sundholm," said Bentele. "Our staff here is second to none. It's people like Kris Wilk, Deb Stensland, Sue Cassens and MerriDee Shumski who keep the wheels turning on the engine here."
While Bentele holds a modest approach to individual accolades, he is most proud of the school at where he's served for the past 27 years.
"I was very surprised when I found out about it (the award) from the selection committee, but I'm happier that little Granada-Huntley-East Chain school got recognized at the state level," said Bentele. "We must be doing something right in southern Minnesota."
Indeed. While the athletic administrator's award marks a lofty milestone for Bentele, it's only a part of his impressive overall resume.
The Southwest Minnesota State University graduate has diligently served as a Region 2A tournament committee member and as a Section 1 and 3 football committee member throughout the years.
Bentele also has chaired the Southern Minnesota 'C' and Valley Conferences at various junctures of his career, in addition to being a member of both the Minnesota Football and Track & Field Coaches Associations.
The former Truman High School extracurricular activities standout, who later qualified for the NAIA National Meet in the shot, discus and hammer throws at the collegiate level, also has earned Border League and District 5 Coach of the Year honors in both prep football and track & field.
While most fans attending sporting events at GHEC only see Bentele's friendly smile and firm handshake, they may not recognize his passion for doing a difficult job as well as anyone in the state.
"Without people like Sharon Euerle (the Region 2A executive secretary), Steve Johnson (the Valley Conference executive secretary) and the ADs in both the Valley and Class 1A, I wouldn't have been able get my job done," said Bentele. "I owe them all a huge thanks."
A truly modest man.