By Izabella Perez
READY FOR WORK: Allison Edens and Michael Bentivegna stand proudly in their new athletic department office. Edens and Bentivegna were named the new Assistant Athletic Directors following Lopez’s promotion to Athletic Director Photo by Izabella Perez
With a school housing over 2,700 students, more than 400 students of which are in sports programs, the West Broward athletics department has been working overtime to accommodate the large number of student-athletes. With programs like volleyball, soccer, basketball and a dozen more to choose from, the department was running thin in terms of organization. Now with the appointment of Edgardo Lopez as new Athletic Director (AD), he asked fellow coaches Allison Edens and Michael Bentivegna to assist him as Assistant Athletic Directors (asst. AD) to better handle the department.
Following former Athletic Director Coach Darr focusing on teaching P.E., the athletic department was lacking in management. They found their new director in Lopez, who continues his coaching for the JV basketball team as well as track and field. Lopez enlisted the help of West Broward’s English teacher and volleyball coach Allison Edens and (JV or Varsity basketball coach Michael Bentivegna to become assistant athletic directors in order to run the athletic department to its fullest capabilities.
Bentivegna started as a Physical Education (P.E.) coach at West Broward for seven years before becoming their AD. He would work in Dade County coaching at various schools before starting in Broward County at Charles W. Flanagan High School.
“When I was first an A.D., it was before they did everything on computers, we did stuff on paper,” Bentivegna said. “I have seen it progress as we progress. I have my master’s in Sports Administration so that definitely helps with everything.”
Working at West Broward as head basketball coach and now asst. A.D., Bentivegna has been working to make the athletic process easier for students and staff alike, focusing on budget and preparing the school gym for reopening.,
“A smoother, cleaner organization that functions without any hiccups is what I hope to achieve,” Bentivegna said. “We get our kids eligible quicker, we do not have incurring fines and we start to produce better athletes.”
Starting off as a student in West Broward, Edens played for the school’s volleyball team. Hired in 2017, Edens has been teaching English and coaching the girl’s JV and varsity volleyball team. After offering her help to the department, the job opportunity of asst. AD came up, and she readily accepted. Balancing her three roles and their concurrent responsibilities is a challenge Edens welcomes.
“I have not had a year where I have had to coach, teach and assist at the same time, that will be next year,” Edens said. “But so far, it has been going very smoothly. I think the key to any job is being organized. And I am pretty organized.”
Grateful for the additions to the department, Edens hopes to help grow the department and support the careers of the student-athletes she and the department manage.
“With so many students and student-athletes in general, and all the sports that we offer, we are continuing to grow and add more sports,” Edens said. “You definitely need a bigger department in order to handle it all.”
More staff in the department means more hands to work on a variety of needs. With the help of Nicole Figuerola, Anatomy and Physiology teacher, as Athletic Coordinator, and Dennis Rodrigues, AP Human Geography teacher, as Athletic Academic Coordinator, steady progress is sure to be seen.
“Nobody can handle that pressure by themselves. Nobody should have to handle the pressure all by themselves,” Edens said. “So with having more people on, allocating responsibilities, it should work much more smoothly.”