Greenville Native in State JUCO Sports Hall of Fame

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STATE HALL OF FAME RECIPIENT John Benge (left) is pictured here as he receives his gold medal and crystal plaque
from Mississippi Delta Community College President Dr. Larry Nabors during induction ceremonies Tuesday night.

Greenville native John Benge was inducted into the 2014 Mississippi Community & Junior College Sports Hall of Fame Tuesday night at Hinds Community College's Clyde Muse Center in Pearl. A crowd of several hundred family, friends, and fellow athletes were on hand as the 14 inductees were honored with a banquet and watched them receive gold medals and crystal plaques.

John Benge came to Sunflower Junior College from Greenville High School where he played football, basketball, and ran track.

The 6-foot, two-inch, 190-pound Benge, under the tutelage of Coaches Jim Randall, Jimmy Bellipanni and J.D. Stonestreet, played on two of the better football teams to play back-to-back at SJC.

In his freshman year, the Trojans went 7-3 losing 34-25 to Jones in the Lions Bowl. His sophomore year SJC went 8-1 overall losing only to Southwest Junior College 13-0. That season the Trojans outscored their opponents 215-51 and were selected to play in the first-ever Mississippi Hospitality Bowl in Biloxi. SJC was edged 13-12 by San Angelo Junior College in that game.

For his efforts, Benge was selected as a First Team All-American both his freshman and sophomore years. In 1955 the LA. Times also named him a First Team All-American. He was also a member of the ā€œSā€ Club both years.

Benge ran track for the Trojans his sophomore year and in the 1955 State Track Meet he took first place in the 440 yard dash and fourth place in the discus. He also anchored the mile relay team that won first place in that meet.

The tall, good looking guy from Greenville was also well liked by his fellow students. He was selected as President of the Freshman Class and was voted Most Handsome both his freshman and sophomore years.

Benge went on to play football for the Mississippi State University Bulldogs during the 1957 and ā€˜58 seasons and was named an All-Southeastern Conference end his junior year.

After graduating from Mississippi State, Benge coached four years at Tupelo and then returned to his alma mater to coach one year at Greenville. He left coaching to go into the boat business where he sailed and manufactured boats for the next 31 years.

He left the water for dry land in 1993 and went into the trucking business for the next 10 years.He retired in 2003, following the death of his wife, and now lives in Winnsboro, LA.