Hoops legend to speak at Boys & Girls Club dinner

Kent Benson.
Photo provided.

The Boys & Girls Club of Huntington County will host its Fourth Annual Steak An' Burger dinner on Monday, April 20.

The event features the tradition of serving steak to the club members while adults eat hamburgers.

The 2009 Steak An' Burger Dinner, sponsored by Bippus State Bank and MarkleBank, is being held at the SS. Peter and Paul auditorium, 860 Cherry St. The event kicks off at 6 p.m. with social time with club members and a silent auction. Dinner will be served at 6:30 p.m.

This year's guest speaker is Indiana University basketball legend Kent Benson. Benson, who was born and raised in New Castle, played for IU Coach Bobby Knight from 1973-77. He was part of the driving force that led IU to the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship during the 1975-76 season. The team was undefeated throughout the entire regular and postseason that year, the last team to accomplish the feat in Division I Men's Basketball.

Benson won numerous high school awards and honors during his high school basketball career and was named 1973 Indiana Mr. Basketball. That same year he was also named Fellowship of Christian Athletes High School Athlete of the Year. He is the third leading rebounder in Indiana high school basketball history.

Benson is the eighth all-time leading scorer in IU history with 1,740 points and he is one of only three players in IU history to grab 1,000 or more rebounds. He was named 1976 NCAA Most Outstanding Player and 1976 National Fellowship of Christian Athletes College Athlete of the Year. He was also named 1977 Indiana University and Big Ten Most Valuable Player.

Benson was the number one pick of the 1977 NBA draft and was selected by the Milwaukee Bucks. He played 11 seasons in the NBA with Milwaukee, Detroit, Utah and two games for Cleveland in February 1988. He wore jersey number 54 his entire career.

Benson continues to garner accolades for his basketball prowess. He was inducted into the Indiana University Athletes Hall of Fame in 1989. In 1999 he was inducted into the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame and named one of the 50 Greatest All-Time Indiana Basketball Players. He was named to Street and Smith's 100 Greatest College Basketball Players in 2004, the same year the 1976 IU team was named to the 10 Greatest College Basketball Teams of All Times.

Items for the silent auction to be held during the Steak An' Burger Dinner include: an autographed picture of Peyton Manning; an autographed Antoine Bethea Colts football; two Notre Dame football tickets; a signed IU basketball; an antique table clock from Smith's Furniture; two tickets to any spring or summer show at the New Huntington Theater; a gift basket from Joseph Decuis; a gift basket from Town & Country Flowers; and gift items from Casa restaurant, Crain Ford, Huntington Nursery, Frederick's Photography, Reber's Repair, Holiday Inn Express, Huntington 7, Wal-Mart, Huntington University, and Milligan's.

The Boys & Girls Club of Huntington County, which opened in February 2001, is available to youth in kindergarten through grade 12. The local club has nearly 600 members from across Huntington County and an average daily attendance of just under 100. It also runs an afterschool homework program at Andrews Elementary and an eight-week prevention program in Warren.

The club features five core program areas including the arts, character and leadership development, health and life skills, technology education and career development, and sports, fitness and recreation. The club provides a positive, caring environment to help young people believe in themselves and understand their responsibilities to others. This is done by instilling within each young person a sense of competence, usefulness, belonging, and influence.

Tickets for the Steak An' Burger Dinner are available at the club, 608 E. State St., or from any board member. Board members include Steve Mason, Jeremy Nix, Bob McKay, Andy Marshall, John Easterday, Judy Fitzmaurice, Les Graham, Jamie Groves, Barb Hancher, Thomas Matheny, Tracey Shafer, Al Sims, Gene Snowden, Vicki Stoffel and J. Ryan Wall.

For more information about the club or the Steak An' Burger Dinner, call the club at 359-1750.