When did you graduate, and what was your major?
Ben: 2012 with a B.A. in history with minors in English and French in 2012. Then I received my M.S. degree in sports administration in 2014.
Nikki: 2013 with a Bachelor of Science in athletic training
Why did you choose Henderson?
Ben: I was recruited to play football at Henderson while I was in junior college in California. After looking into it, I found that HSU was the place for me. My grandmother, with whom I was living at the time, was born in Arkadelphia. I couldn’t, and still can’t, see the entire situation as anything but providence. HSU found me, and I’m glad they did.
Nikki: It was one of two colleges that offered the degree program I wanted. I visited the school and just fell in love with the beautiful campus and loved that the class sizes were smaller.
Who were your best friends while attending Henderson, and are you still friends with them today?
Ben: My wife, Nikki Chandler, Nick Hardesty, Kevin Lloyd, Tommy Fratcher, and Kevin Rodriguez. I still talk to most of them today.
Nikki: Of course I have to say Ben and most of the time we are still friends...but Caitlin Marley (Riley), and yes! We are still friends!
Who were your favorite professors?
Ben: Dr. Clinton Atchley and Dr. Megan Hickerson. I appreciated how they held us to a high standard and demanded us to be engaged, to read, and to think critically. They were two professors who I had several classes with, but there were others that I really enjoyed but only had one class with including Dr. Martin James, Dr. Beth Ann Maxfield, and Dr. Steven Carter. In graduate school, Dr. Terry Dewitt was my favorite.
Nikki: I valued all of our athletic training teachers, but I loved Jani O’Donnell for walking me through chemistry, and Mike Taylor for showing me a love for creative writing.
What is your current occupation?
Ben: I am an American history and civics/economics teacher and assistant football/track coach at Arkadelphia High School. My wife and I also have started a new market here in town for a company called Easybins (Easybins.com) which is a grocery delivery service.
Nikki: I work at The Ross Foundation as an administrative assistant and recently have expanded a grocery delivery business to Arkadelphia called Easybins.
How did Henderson prepare you for your career?
Ben: I had to juggle many things at once. Playing football, studying, being a husband, and being a stepdad were all things that I had to do simultaneously at HSU, and I am thankful that none of it was just a walk in the park. I am thankful that I majored in history and took all my undergraduate classes “up the hill” because the academic demands were challenging and forced me to be at my best.
Nikki: Henderson taught me to roll with the punches. Things aren’t always going to go the way you expect, but the more you’re able to adjust the more successful you’ll be.
What is your favorite memory of Henderson?
Ben: Beating OBU all three years we played them while I was there (‘10, ‘11, ‘12)
Nikki: I loved being on the field when Henderson beat OBU all three years I was there.
When was the last time you were on the Henderson campus?
Both: Last week. We have been walking all over the place since this virus hit. We enjoy taking walks around the campus with our kids since we live a few blocks away so we’ve been recently.
What other job do you think you’d be really good at?
Ben: I think that I would be a great sports broadcaster. Also, I think that I would be a good actor or radio personality. Tommy Fratcher and I had “Sunshine and The Dude” radio program when we were at Henderson, and I’ve always thought that I might find my way back to radio.
Nikki: Planning events. I have a knack for bossing people around.
How do you relax after a hard day?
Ben: I like to hang out with my wife and kids.
Nikki: I like to sit in the sun and try not to think, but I’m pretty high strung so I don’t relax a lot.
Who do you admire the most, and why?
Ben: I admire my dad the most because he’s wise and is always there for me for anything. He is the best example of forgiveness and humility that I know, and I am lucky to have him as the example that I can follow. My dad works harder than anyone I know, and he does not seek recognition. He used to always say, “It’s time to go to work” whenever we’d ask him why he’s up so early. Maybe that’s why I related to Coach Maxfield so well since his “take care of your business” mantra is so similar to my dad’s “It’s time to go to work” saying.
Nikki: I admire people who are go-getters regardless of what people think or say about them. I like people who work hard, but if I had to say one person I admire it would be Shelley Loe (’92). I’ve never met a nicer person who cared as much as she does and is an incredibly hard worker.
What is something you think everyone should do at least once in their lives?
Ben: Repent and commit their lives to Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. Besides that, I’d probably say skydiving, even though I have not done it.
Nikki: Visit Lake Tahoe in the winter.
What’s the hardest lesson you’ve learned?
Ben: Other than that, the man with the badge is always right. I think the hardest lesson I have learned is that perception is reality.
Nikki: That sometimes even when you do things right, it doesn’t always work out.
What are three interesting facts about you?
Ben: I was ranked third in the nation playing the video game NCAA 2008. I created the Official “What about Bob” fan club on Facebook. My wife and I work at Oaklawn as mutuel tellers during racing season.
Nikki: I still play softball as much as I can (intramural champs a couple of times!). I live off of coffee and peanut butter. I’ve beaten Ben at least three times in Jeopardy.
If your life was a book, what would its title be?
Ben: Outside the Box: The Life and Times of a Modern Day Renaissance Man.
Nikki: She tried, she failed, she laughed.
If you could make one rule that everyone had to follow, what would it be?
Ben: Put the toilet paper on the roller “over” not “under!”
Nikki: Be kind, or be quiet.
What have you been doing since the Corona Virus outbreak?
Ben: I have been homeschooling our four kids, working with Easybins, learning more about football, teaching my students, and spending time with Mrs. Chandler.
Nikki: Working non-stop. I’ve been fortunate enough to continue to work at the Ross Foundation, and starting up the Arkadelphia expansion of Easybins has been time consuming. It is such a big need for our community. Non-contact groceries delivered to your door before you even wake up has been an answered prayer to a lot of people who do not feel comfortable going out to the store. We feel really fortunate that they chose us to start this here.