Neola E. and Chet J. Benefiel - Chapman Legacy Society
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Gifts Established:

  • Chet and Neola Benefiel Scholarship | Est. 1995
brick engraved with name Neola E. and Chet J. Benefiel

Neola E. and Chet J. Benefiel

When Coffeyville, Kansas, native Chester J. “Chet” Benefiel came to TU in 1927 on a football scholarship, he first played at the 90-yard McNulty Park near 11th and Elgin. In spite of the necessity to run the ball an extra 10 yards in order to score, he was named Oklahoma Football Back of the Year in 1929 and All-American Honorable Mention in 1930.

A running back, Benefiel played in the inaugural game at Skelly Stadium and scored the first touchdown at the south end goal. By the time he’d graduated, Benefiel, a member of the Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity, had lettered in four sports — football, basketball, track and baseball.

Chet met Neola Elliot from Parsons, Kansas, while both were students at TU. Neola earned a bachelor of science degree in psychology, graduating with honors in 1932. Married shortly after her graduation, the couple enjoyed 55 years together until her death in 1989.

Upon graduating from TU in 1931 with a degree in history, Chet coached high school football and basketball. He then returned to TU to coach from 1934 to 1941, during which time he recruited the legendary Glenn Dobbs for the football team.

In 1942, Chet was commissioned as a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy Reserves. During the Second World War, he served with honor as an officer, attaining the rank of lieutenant commander.

Benefiel’s business career began in 1946, when he became a sales representative for American Body and Trailer Company. In 1952, he joined Mud Products as transportation superintendent and safety director. The family moved to Houston in 1957, where they spent the remainder of their lives. Chet retired in 1972 as transportation manager of Baroid Mud Products.

Chet Benefiel was an avid sportsman who loved hunting and fishing, as well as traveling, refinishing antiques, and growing roses. He was a lifetime member of the TU Alumni Association, the Houston Touchdown Club, the Woods and Water Club, Houston Rose Society, and the Pioneer Oil Producers Organization.

In 1982, he was honored as a TU Distinguished Alumnus; and in 1983, he was inducted into the university’s Athletics Hall of Fame. He died November 24, 1994, in Houston at the age of 87. The Chet and Neola Benefiel Scholarship endowment was established through a very generous bequest from Mr. Benefiel’s last will and testament.