Benfield named new head football coach at Cloudland
BY IVAN SANDERS
STAR SPORTS EDITOR
ROAN MOUNTAIN – Many high school football player dreams of having the opportunity to come back to their alma mater one day as the head coach and help to lead their team to the ultimate goal of winning a state championship.
For Zac Benfield, that dream became a reality as on Friday Benfield was named as the new head coach of the Cloudland football program taking over for former head coach and athletic director Coach Scott Potter.
Many in the Cloudland community remember Benfield as a former successful defensive back and wide receiver during his playing days as a Highlander during the 2011 to 2014 seasons.
Once he graduated from Cloudland, Benfield gained experience as an assistant coach working with head coach Kevin Kendall at Cloudland Middle School in 2015, assisting head coach Mike Lunsford from 2016 to 2018, served as offensive coordinator under Glenn White in 2019, and assisted head coach Michael Lunsford at Hampton in the fall of 2020.
He was working as an assistant coach at Avery County High School under head coach Mac Bryan and will fulfill his obligations to the Avery County program as they continue with their spring season.
“I am excited to be at my alma mater – I think that all coaches have a desire to coach at their alma mater and doing it at age 24 is a big deal for me,” said Benfield.
“I can’t wait to be able to get back to coaching and connecting with kids where I grew up., kids that I know are disciplined and love hard work. I am excited about leading a program that has traditionally been successful and taking it to a whole different level.”
The Cloudland community can expect Benfield to bring energy, enthusiasm, and support to the student-athletes, administration, and community as he begins his journey acknowledging that this opportunity was his “dream job”.
Cloudland High School principal Richard Church believes that Benfield is the right man to take over the Highlander program.
“This was a competitive job posting as we have a proven track record of success and having coachable and hard-nosed student-athletes,” said Church upon the announcement.
“We need a young energetic coach like Zac Benfield to continue the tradition of this program, make strong community connections, and lead this football team into the future.
“We are fortunate to have a successful CHS graduate that is committed to these kids and this community.”