Three Rivers' Bess coaches record 900th career win

Wednesday, January 16, 2002

Southeast Mo. News Service

POPLAR BLUFF, Mo. -- Three Rivers Community College men's basketball coach Gene Bess became the first junior college coach to win 900 games Tuesday after the Raiders defeated Southwest Tennessee 76-65 at the Black River Coliseum.

"It's a tremendous accomplishment," Bess said after the game. "I feel very humbled because I've been such a small part of the whole thing. I'm just thankful that the good Lord has blessed me."

Bess's career record stands at 900-219 for a winning percentage of .804.

"My dad says it's a sign of longevity," said Brian Bess, Gene Bess's son and assistant coach, "but most people would say that winning 80 percent of the time is a sign of good coaching."

Three Rivers (16-4) was sparked by the return of freshman forward Travis Johnson from a stress fracture. He scored eight of his 12 points in the second half, including the go-ahead 3-pointer with 8:48 left in the game.

Gene Bess gave credit to others for his own achievements.

"I'm thankful for the great players I've had, the great assistant coaches and the college adminsitration that supports us so well," the elder Bess said. "We have great fans and a great booster club."

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