The tears were flowing during Tuesday’s introductory press conference of new Bulldog basketball coach Talvin Hester.
As Hester looked at his mom sitting on the front row of the Dr. Guthrie Jarrell Room in the Davison Athletics Complex, he couldn’t hold back his emotions.
“It’s a surreal moment,” said Hester. “When you accomplish something that you have been working towards your whole life and you see the people that supported you along the way (sitting here), I’m thankful for them. My tears weren’t for me. It was for all of them. Now I have to make them proud. I have a job to do. All the lights and cameras will go away, and we have to win basketball games. That is what is next.”
Hester was announced as the 19th head coach in Bulldog basketball history during the noon presser, following in the footsteps of Eric Konkol. Hester served as an assistant coach on Konkol’s staff for three years prior to moving to Texas Tech this past season. Texas Tech advanced to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament.
Hester addressed a crowd full of Bulldog faithful on Tuesday with his wife Jamieka and daughter Rhyan sitting by him on the stage while a number of other family members watched with tearful eyes as he spoke of fulfilling lifelong dreams.
“In every journey in life, somebody helps you,” said Hester. “Some people help you. You have to have help to get there. For those people to help me and to come back and support me, it brought me to tears. The truth is I wanted to smile the whole time, but the tears were for my mom and for my family.”
Hester comes to Tech with 20 years of collegiate coaching experience under his belt, including his three-year stint on Konkol’s staff in Ruston (2018-21). He said he knows how to role up his sleeves and work and he is ready to do that with the Bulldog program.
“Talvin Hester is a guy who got it out of the mud,” said Hester. “I came from a Division III junior college and worked at pretty much every level of DI that you can imagine. I wasn’t born with a silver spoon in my mouth. I didn’t come from royalty. I plan to keep working, instill work in my players, bring in a staff here that is built to work and try to make this university proud.”
Tech Director of Athletics Eric Wood said the process was intense and stressful, but that he feels they landed the right man for the position.
“Every AD will tell you they always have a list,” said Wood. “You are just naturally keeping an eye on folks in case you have an opening. You always have a list for when it’s go time. It’s an emotional time. You are making a decision for the University and the city and most importantly those student athletes. It weights on you to make the right choice for your institution at the right time. It’s a stressful process, but we ended up with the right coach and I’m thrilled.”
Along with stops at Texas Tech and Louisiana Tech, Hester spent the majority of his coaching career in the south, especially in the Lone Star State. He spent time at Oral Roberts, Houston, Texas State, Stephen F. Austin, San Jose State, Prairie View A&M, Texas College, Texas Wesleyan and North Lake College during his career.
“When we started this process, it was a blank slate,” said Wood. “I knew Talvin worked here, and he was at Texas Tech making a run to the Sweet 16. It was truly a blank slate. He just fits here. He has worked under some great guys. He knows X’s and O’s. He’s not just a recruiter, he’s full of integrity and ethics. I felt he would be the right fit for Louisiana Tech right now. He crushed the interview and he separated himself from being an assistant to showing us he could be a head coach.”
When asked what makes Louisiana Tech a special job, Hester was quick and simple with his response.
“The people in this place are unbelievable,” said Hester. “I think that is why you have seen multiple coaches have a lot of success here. This community surrounds this school. And the people who come here fall in love with it. The players want to play for the people here. It makes it a dynamic situation and a dynamic place.”
And Wood believes Louisiana Tech just hired a dynamic coach.
“We got the right guy at the right time for Louisiana Tech,” said Wood.
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