A friend of a friend – Brittany Bennett and Brea Hartley -April 24

One thing I have learned is that good friends have other good friends. This is a series of stories about “friends of my friends”. The post below is the story for April 24, 2015.

My goal in 2015 is to learn or get re-acquainted with 365 people and doing a daily post on the “the friend of a friend” is helping me get closer to my goal.

On Wednesday afternoon I got to attend a ceremony on campus where we honor all graduating UNC Pembroke seniors. The reception was held at the residence of the chancellor and included recognizing five seniors who were nominated as “Most Outstanding Graduating Senior”. Of the five nominated three were student athletes who all enrolled while I was serving as Director of Athletics at the university. One of the three is a former student and advisee of mine Brea Hartley.

Picture below of Brea and I at that ceremony.


Each of the five nominees had to submit a statement paper on their UNC Pembroke experience and I was very surprised and flattered that Brea mentioned that some of my teaching strategies had resonated and influenced her. The specific strategy mentioned is a hybrid modified from my coaching days and applied to the classroom. I would call all my players “winners”. I would always have conversations with my players making the assumption that they already were winners. When I was in the classroom I substituted the word winner with special with my students. I repeated over and over that none of them were average. Brea took that message and applied it to everything she does. Her faith, her studies, her sport, and her friends all get a special effort from Brea.

Brea Hartley also validates “special” and her accolades in the classroom and on the softball diamond verify that.

Brea is the daughter of Angela and Terry Hartley and has one twin sister who will graduate on May 9th from Liberty University. Brea will graduate from UNC Pembroke on May 9th so her family has to split ranks. She will receive her degree in Sports Management from Pembroke. In high school she won the county division in the Double Bubble Bubblegum Biggest Bubble Competition in addition to winning the BassMasters Casting Kids competition for her county on three occasions.

Academically she has been a member of the PBC Presidential Honor Roll in her junior year and most likely will receive that honor again in 2015. She also has been very involved with community service as part of the softball team and that was one of the reasons she was nominated as one of the top five seniors in the Class of 2015.

For her softball career she batted .354, played in 194 games, hit 25 career home runs, 43 doubles, and 124 RBI’s. Her position was catcher and she truly was a coach on the field. Her teammates respected her because of her passion, integrity, and hard work.

Brea will tell you that her life is better because of the positive influences from her UNC Pembroke Softball Coach Brittany Bennett.


Brea Softball

The Friend of the Friend –BRITTANY BENNETT


The Coach with “It”

Brittany Bennett was named UNCP’s 10th head softball coach in July, 2013 and just completed her second year at the helm of the program for the 2014-15 season. She demonstrated her abilities this season by getting the Braves their best season since 2008 with a 26-21 won-loss record. As a coach she has the Braves headed in the right direction she has “it”.

Brittany came to UNC Pembroke after having served as an assistant coach at fellow Peach Belt Conference school Georgia College and State University. A former coach and administrator Wendell Staton was her Athletic Director at Georgia College and he gave her the highest recommendation. Wendell wasn’t wrong Brittany has “it”.

In her first year at UNCP, the Lady Braves (22-24, 8-14 PBC) held a five-game winning streak towards the end of the season, back-to-back defeats of then-No.2 Kutztown in February, four series sweeps, three shutouts, six run-rule victories and one win in extra innings against opponents.

A Longview, Texas, native, Bennett earned her bachelor’s degree in business administration from Southern Arkansas in 2004. She received her master’s degree in kinesiology from SAU in 2006.

Most importantly Brittany has instilled a family atmosphere on the UNC Pembroke softball team. Her players respect her and they demonstrate that respect by playing hard and enthusiastically for her. That is a quality that winning coaches and leaders have they inspire people. Brittany Bennett does that for her team.

Brittany has that coaching quality called “it” and I saw her get “it” out of player I call “special”.

Congrats to Brea Hartley on graduating and moving on to the next step in her life. It might even involve coaching. She will be good at “it” thanks to Coach Brittany Bennett.


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