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Although head coach Tony Benford and the men’s basketball team didn’t have the year they wanted, Benford always made sure to maintain a strong relationship with the athletes. Whether it was Benford having his team over to his house for a pre-game dinner or the daily check-ins with his players, he made sure his team was well-rounded so it could function well on the court. “He wants to see us succeed in life,” senior guard Roger Franklin said. “Not just in the classroom, or not just on the basketball court. He’s preparing us to be not boys in the world, but men.” As a child, Benford’s father served two tours in Vietnam as a sergeant in the Army, and wasn’t around much for his son. “A lot of the coaches I had were like father figures to me because they were always around,” Benford said. In high school Benford played for head coach Ralph Tasker at Hobbs High School in Hobbs, N.M., and aspired to be like him one day. “He cared about us,” Benford said. “He didn’t care black, white, brown, he cared about kids and making a difference in the lives of kids. It was a family atmosphere, he invested in our lives.” Read more: http://wordpress1.cws.unt.edu/?p=4119