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Mount Hebron High School athletic director Mark Cates has been namedthe school's head football coach.

Cates, a 40-year-old social studies teacher who has served as an assistant football coach for the past four years, replaces Steve Benninghove, who resigned in December.

"For me, the season has already begun," Cates said. "Between being a teacher, an athletic director and a football coach, I've got my work cut out for me."

Cates has plenty of work to do with the Hebron football program. The Vikings have been victimized in recent years by a shrinking number of players, a prime factor in their 14-26 record in four seasons under Benninghove. By the end of last season, Hebron's varsity consisted of 20 players.

"Numbers have been a serious problem here. One of my first priorities is attacking the numbers problem," Cates said. "I've got to make sure that every young man who wants to play, or can play, will play football."

Cates, who assumes his first head football coaching job, played defensive end for four years in the early 1970s at Arkansas State University. He was part of the team that won the NCAA Division II national championship in 1970.

Cates went on to coach for several years at the high school levelin Tennessee and Virginia, before coming to Glenelg in 1982. At Glenelg, Cates assisted Dennis Cole for five years, before coming to Hebron.

Under Benninghove, Cates was the Vikings' offensive line coachand defensive coordinator. Cates said Pat Crouse, another assistant under Benninghove, will be retained. The rest of the coaching staff positions are still open, he said.

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