He'll yell a little, confront if necessary, and generally push and prod any time he's less than satisfied with what he's seeing from his team on a given day.
But Bentz's often stern exterior hides a soft heart that sometimes melts - rapidly - when his players turn in an inspired performance. And when that happens, A-C's head coach isn't shy about showing that side of himself.
For a long time, though, that hard shell did allow Bentz to shield his charges from the intense emotional pain that he's carried with him every day for the last 36 years.
On what should have been one of the happiest nights of their lives - Graduation Night 1976 at Annville-Cleona - Bentz and his classmates endured a nightmare they've yet to fully awaken from.
Like many high-school graduates past and present, Bentz and his fellow grads headed straight for the Jersey Shore almost as soon as they received their diplomas, eager to enjoy the traditional Senior Week rite of passage to the hilt.
Four of them never made it.
Leading a caravan of cars from A-C down to the shore, Andy Longenecker, Rick Schools, Liz Eisenhauer and Gail Buchmoyer were the innocent, tragic victims of a drunk driver, killed instantly when the speeding car heading the other direction crashed into their
Seven lives lost in total. Countless others, like Bentz's, altered forever, both by the emotional impact of the loss of their friends and the carnage they witnessed firsthand after arriving at the scene shortly after the crash.
"Even after 35 years, it's something that you think about," Bentz said last week. "Especially this time of year. And you have to talk about it. You have to talk about it to get it out of your system. It was the best day of our lives because we graduated, but it was the worst day of our lives because we suffered through the accident."
Continuing an ongoing catharsis, Bentz talked about it again a few weeks ago with, and at the request of, his team.
Having heard bits and pieces about the accident, one day at practice some players asked Bentz if he knew anything about it, unaware of just how completely their coach had been touched by the tragedy.
"They had inquired, 'Did you know anything about the accident?'" Bentz said. "I don't think they realized that I was there. I said, 'Yeah, a lot about it.' But it wasn't the right time to (talk about it), because we had some big games coming up. And I knew when I told them the story it would affect everybody. Because it's a brutal story.
"Eventually when we got to some games that we should win easily, I told them the story at practice the night before one of the games. Of course, I had everybody (crying). And, of course, I was, too."
A-C's senior leaders, shortstop Casey Ditzler and first baseman Kaylynn McKinney, were particularly moved by the horrific tale and its lasting effects.
"I cried," the usually upbeat, energetic Ditzler said. "I bawled my eyes out."
Ever steady and composed on the field, McKinney seconded that emotion, along with the rest of the team as they learned of the pain they never knew their coach carried with him.
"I think everyone was in tears," McKinney said. "And it made it even more sentimental because he was there, he witnessed everything. So the emotion he was giving, sorta created more."
It also created an idea in the minds of Ditzler, McKinney and their teammates.
In the spring following the tragedy, four trees were planted in memory of Longenecker, Schools, Eisenhauer and Buchmoyer in front of the old Annville-Cleona High School. But when the school was torn down to make for a new, more modern facility a few years back, the trees went down with it.
A plaque has since been erected near the school's track to honor the victims, but the absence of the trees that once stood as a memorial left something of an emotional void for those once comforted by their presence. A void that Bentz's team immediately decided they wanted to fill by planting a new set of trees, this time near the A-C softball field.
"Right after, he went inside and got tissues and stuff, and we went directly to each other and started talking," McKinney said. "We wanted to do something. We first talked about like a coach's gift, but we knew getting him a picture wouldn't mean as much. We knew this would mean so much, to do something for it."
From there Ditzler took the lead, contacting local funeral home director Steve Kreamer, who was riding with Bentz on that life-changing night 36 years ago, looking for some assistance with the project. Shortly thereafter, the team purchased the trees and presented them to Bentz at the team's season-ending banquet. They're expected to be planted in the fall, serving as both a symbolic tribute to their fallen fellow alumni and a gesture of respect and affection for Bentz.
"We decided we wanted four trees planted for shade purposes, and to serve as a reminder to us that you need to make the right decisions, you need to be careful," Ditzler said. "Because life's short, and you don't want to have something happen that you don't intend to."
Adding to the depth of the tragedy was the fact that on that terrible night none of the four students had been drinking, according to Bentz. They were simply, horribly, in the wrong place at the wrong time.
"Everything's supposed to happen for a reason, but you try to figure that one out and you wonder why," Bentz said. "Because they were all great kids. Not any problems. It was just wrong."
But after all these years, after searching in vain to make some sense of it all, Bentz may have found just a little solace in the decision of Ditzler and McKinney to forego a Senior Week trip of their own.
"It was about three weeks before graduation (when Bentz told his story)," Ditzler said, "and after that I heard kids talking about Senior Week, and I was like, 'Oh my gosh. That could be one of us.'
"I think that was part of it," McKinney said of passing on Senior Week. "Because you hear stories like that all the time. It's sort of in the back (of your mind). You think about it."
A virtual prisoner of Graduation Night 1976, Bentz will never stop thinking about the four friends he lost on that New Jersey highway. But from now on, he'll have something else to mention when he finds himself needing to talk about that night.
"For this to happen, for these kids to do this for me is just special," he said. "It's gonna be tough to beat this year for what they've done."
Ironically, A-C didn't accomplish many of the things it set out to do this past season. Eyeing both the Lancaster-Lebanon League Section Four and District Three Class AA championships, Bentz's club came up agonizingly short of any titles, although it did earn a state playoff berth for the second straight year.
There were tough breaks that contributed, some internal strife that kept it from fulfilling its total potential. And in some cases, A-C was just done in by better teams.
But when it came time to step up to the plate in this situation, it could be argued that Dave Bentz's Annville-Cleona softball team produced the equivalent of a walk-off, championship-winning grand slam home run.
"This year didn't really go as we planned," Ditzler said. "Not at all, actually. But as a team, we wanted to be remembered. And we didn't necessarily want to be remembered for the things that happened on the field. We wanted to make an impact in our school."
With a simple yet profound gesture of support, that mission has unquestionably been accomplished.