Bess posts 1,000th victory

Thursday, February 23, 2006

ST. LOUIS -- Gene Bess made college basketball history Wednesday night, becoming the first college basketball coach ever to win 1,000 games when Three Rivers Community College beat Forest Park 77-60.

Bess has never had a losing season in his 36 years coaching at Three Rivers, in Poplar Bluff.

He came up short of the milestone Saturday, when Three Rivers lost to rival Mineral Area, but the Raiders (22-7) had opened the season beating Forest Park by 48 points.

On Wednesday, the Raiders kept at least a 10-point lead throughout the second half and never trailed in the game.

The 70-year-old Bess' lifetime 1,000-258 record is unmatched by any college coach at any level.

Former North Carolina coach Dean Smith's 879 career wins are the most in NCAA Division I.

Harry Statham at McKendree College in Lebanon, Ill., is the all-time winningest coach at any four-year college or university, and in his 40 years coaching has 912 wins and counting.

Bess, who grew up in Oak Ridge and graduated from Southeast Missouri State University, has built a junior college dynasty with 17 regional titles, 13 trips to the national tournament, and national titles in 1979 and 1992.

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