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Chris Bentley, center, assistant to the athletic director/life skills and academic liaison and faculty member in general studies, discusses class schedules with Southeastern running back Jay Lucas, and Lady Lion power forward Kristy Carlin.
In the world of Southeastern Athletics, success has two meanings. Not only are the athletes expected to excel in their sport, but they’re also required to achieve in the classroom.
Lady Lion Kristy Carlin, a junior power forward majoring in business management, understands all too well the demands on student-athletes.
Chris Bentley and student athlete Kristy Carlin
Southeastern has various tools in place to help ensure academic success, and one of the sharpest of those tools is Chris Bentley. Assistant to the athletic director/life skills and academic liaison and a faculty member in Division of General Studies, she serves as a liaison between faculty, coaches and student-athletes. One of her most important roles, as well as her absolute favorite, is ensuring the success of student-athletes.
“I’ve been working with athletes since 1993, when I was asked to teach a class for all freshman student-athletes,” she said. “My goal is to teach them to make adjustments from high school to college how to balance practice time, travel time and playing time with academic success.”
“Ms. Bentley has definitely taught me a lot about academics,” Carlin said. “She was so strict when I took her first class. She taught us how to take notes, and it stuck with me I still take notes that way.
“She is always on our case, in a good way, about what to do, how to get our class work done, and how to be professional,” Carlin added. “She’s like my second mom.”
The professionalism that Carlin learned from Bentley inspired her to introduce herself as a basketball player to her instructors at the beginning of each semester.
“I sit in the front row so that my teachers know I’m attending class. I tell them on day one that I may have to miss class, but I will do what it takes to make up missed work,” Carlin said. “I want them to know the reason why I’m absent if I miss class.”
In addition to teaching, Bentley also advises future and current athletes. She meets with incoming freshmen and their parents to provide schedules for students and to educate parents about the tools in place to help the athletes earn a degree.
“We try to help the students with course scheduling in the summer to enhance positive study habits,” she said. “For instance, we try to schedule the harder courses for the athletes when they aren’t in the middle of their sport season and have more study time available.”
Student athlete Jay Lucas
“I always tell my students that they have their coaches to help with their athletic ability and they have me to help with their academic ability,” Bentley said. “Because you are a student-athlete and without the “student” part, you can’t be an athlete unless you get it together in the classroom.”
Southeastern running back, Jay Lucas agrees with how helpful Bentley can be.
“Ms. Bentley from the start came to all of our meetings,” he said. “I was able to have hands on experience with her, one-on-one time. She taught us how to study for exams and be responsible with our class work how to be successful both on and off the field.”
With a smile Bentley proudly adds, “I love working with student athletes. They are so appreciative.”