Benjie Graham, a selection to the 2016 GCHS Sports Hall of Fame, was a three-sport star at GCHS from 1989 to 1993. Benjie lettered in football, basketball, and baseball all four years. He was a stellar athlete, making a significant contribution in each sport throughout his career.
During his freshman year, Benjie split time between junior varsity and varsity competition in each sport. While contributing on the varsity level in a supporting role, he shined as integral part of each JV program. In football, he was recognized as the Best Freshman Running Back. In addition, he kicked extra points and kicked off.
During his sophomore year, Benjie became a starter in all three sports. He became a big part of each team as his athletic ability blossomed. In football, he played halfback and safety and performed the place kicking duties. He had 59 yards rushing and was named as the Grundy County Herald’s Player of the Week once during the season.
In basketball, he played wing on a very talented senior laden team. He was the starting shortstop for the Jacket baseball team.
Benjie’s star status began to shine bright during his junior year. In football, he rushed for 1,339 yards, which was good for fourth place in TriState area. He led the TriState in scoring with 113 points, including 17 touchdowns. While accomplishing these individual achievements, he helped lead the Jackets to their first playoff appearance in school history. Benjie’s performances garnered him several awards, both during the season as well as postseason. He was recognized during the season three times by the Herald as Player of the Week, three times as AP Player of the Week honorable mention, and once as the WRCB Channel 3 Player of the Week against Notre Dame, where he rushed for 244 yards in only three quarters of action. Postseason honors included First Team All Area and All TriState, as well as team awards as MVP and Best Offensive Back.
In basketball, he made All Area honorable mention as a starting wing for the Jackets who went 15-10. In baseball, he was named co-MVP of District 7AA and All Class infielder/pitcher for Class A/AA. He helped his team reach the state baseball tournament for the second time in school history.
His senior year was equally as impressive. In football, he rushed for 1,150 yards and was third in the TriState in scoring with 20 touchdowns for 120 points. He helped the Jackets capture their third Walking Horse Bowl championship in four years. He garnered Offensive MVP in a 170 shutout of David Lipscomb.
Once again, he attained numerous in season and postseason accolades. He was named the Herald’s Offensive Player of the Week three more times and was named Defensive Player of the Week once. He was named 97 KICKS Player of the Week and WRCB Channel 3 and Center for Sports Medicine Player of the Week once each. He was AP AA State Player of the Week once and honorable mention six times. His postseason accolades included All Area team both offensively and defensively, All TriState and the 1992 TACA AA Player of the Year.
In basketball, he was All Area honorable mention as he helped lead his team to a 178 record. In baseball, he made the All Class A/AA team, as well as the All TriState team. He had a batting average of .407 during his senior season.
Following his senior season, he was invited to participate in Sportsfest in baseball. He pitched a three hit shutout in the gold medal game. Benjie went on to play two years of college baseball. He gave up baseball as a junior at
MTSU because of shoulder problems. He went on to earn a BBA with an emphasis in Human Resources at MTSU. He currently works for MEDHOST Inc. of Franklin, a healthcare management company.
I personally have fond memories of Benjie’s stellar career. I was his basketball coach during his junior and senior years. In addition, I was the statistician during his football career. He is one of the best all-around athletes that I’ve had the privilege to watch, over the last 50 years.
Congratulations to Benjie Graham on your impending induction into the GCHS Sports Hall of Fame.