Irvine mourns the loss of Kent Bentley, beloved teacher and coach at Woodbridge High School


Woodbridge High School and the entire IUSD community are mourning the sudden loss of Kent Bentley, a popular English teacher and wrestling coach at Woodbridge.

Bentley, a member of the WHS staff since 1998, died Monday after collapsing during lunch. The cause was later determined to be cardiovascular disease, according to a spokesman for the Orange County Sheriff’s Department.

Known as “K.J.” to his friends, Bentley is survived by a highly regarded family of Irvine educators, including his wife, Mary, and daughter, Katie. The couple also has another daughter, Jill.

“Mr. Bentley was so much more than a respected English teacher and distinguished wrestling coach at Woodbridge,” Principal Jason Viloria said in an email to the community. “He was a mentor, an advocate for kids and a friend to everyone on campus. He was also a member of a family that has taught Irvine students for three generations. His passing at the young age of 46 leaves a void in our hearts that won’t soon be filled.”

“At this time, words cannot express the sorrow felt by our students and staff,” he added. “To help all of us cope with this tremendous loss, we are bringing in six additional school psychologists this week, and we have been generously offered supplementary grief counseling services by the Irvine Police Department.”

While professionals will specifically be working with students and staff who knew Mr. Bentley – and those hardest hit by his passing – Viloria encouraged parents to discuss the tragedy with their children and to seek out additional counseling if necessary.

Meanwhile, students and staff shared memories of Bentley during a candlelight vigil on campus Tuesday night. The Orange County Register has that story here.