Benny Washington

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James "Benny" Washington
Mugshot of arrested Woodham teacher Benny Washington
Born May 19, 1959
Occupation Woodham High School history teacher, former Woodham Titans basketball coach

James Bennett "Benny" Washington is a former Woodham High School history teacher and former coach of the Woodham Titans basketball team. His tenure as coach featured a great deal of controversy until he was removed from the position in 2006, which Washington claimed was retribution for his opposition to Superintendant Jim Paul's plan to close several schools, including Woodham. On March 9, 2007, Washington was arrested for possession of marijuana, cocaine and drug paraphernalia during a traffic stop by the Escambia County Sheriff's Office.

Washington's teaching career was noted for his efforts to help underprivileged and urban youth. He showed them ways to achieve legal success by working hard, planning and setting short and long term goals. He not only taught young men how to play basketball but also how to become men who can contribute something positive to our society. Some embraced his teaching while some spurned it but they knew he wanted the best for them.

In the early years, he was the only coach to set a required GPA that was higher than the county standard for playing sports. Bad grades or conduct, regardless of GPA, were addressed swiftly. He required all players to attend a study hall after school to ensure all of their school work were being accomplished and practiced his players hard. This was spurred by his ambition to keep his players off the street and away from negative influence that might lead them in the wrong direction. His players usually went straight home after practice, finished some school work, spend time with family and went to sleep. He demanded honesty, dedication, and social awareness from all his players and students.