‘Hess’ calls it quits

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 13, 2002

Jerry Hester has resigned as Troy State women’s basketball coach following seven seasons on the job, Athletics Director Johnny Williams announced on Tuesday.

"We thank Jerry for what he has done for our program," Williams said. "He led us to our only NCAA Tournament in women’s basketball. We view this as an opportunity to seek out someone who can build on what he has established and take us back to contending for championships."

Hester, who served as an assistant coach with the Troy State men’s program from 1992-95, became the interim women’s head basketball coach before the 1995-96 season. He soon earned the job on a full-time basis, and then guided the program to its only NCAA Tournament berth a year later when the Lady Trojans finished 23-7 and won the 1997 Mid-Continent Conference regular-season and tournament titles.

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That season, Hester earned the Mid-Con’s Coach of the Year honor as well.

During Hester’s tenure, the Lady Trojans posted a 93-103 overall record, including a 65-57 mark in conference games. This season, the Lady Trojans finished 11-17 overall and 10-10 in the Atlantic Sun Conference, losing to regular-season champion Georgia State in the first round of last week’s A-Sun Championship in Troy.

"This is the only university I have ever worked for," said Hester, who had a 283-162 record as a high school head coach before coming to Troy State. "I always said that when I wasn’t getting the job done or didn’t like the way the job was going, I would resign. My only regret is that we are leaving behind a young team ­ with seven sophomores, four freshmen and a junior. Each one of them we recruited, and they will always hold a special place in my heart."

Hester, a Troy State graduate, was just the second women’s basketball coach in Troy State history. He followed the program’s founder, Joyce Sorrell.

Under Hester’s guidance, nine Lady Trojans have earned all-conference honors, including sophomore Thea Herring this season.

Williams said the school will begin looking for a new coach immediately but placed no timetable on the search.