Local College Coach Gets 1000 Wins

February 23, 2006--Posted at 4:45 p.m. CST

POPLAR BLUFF, MO--Dean Smith, Mike Krzyzewski, and Bob Knight a few of college basketball’s winningest coaches, but the coach with the most career wins ever hails fromThree Rivers Community College in Poplar Bluff. Last night Gene Bess celebrated his 1000th career win.

"It's not like that much of a job it's been more like a hobby. I have been blessed with the ability to get effort from my players" said Coach Bess.

The 70 year old Bess emphasizes academics, a relationship with God and hard work on all of the players that come through his system.


"I'm always bragging to the guys about how great of a coach he is," said ASU Guard and former Twin River Raider Dereke Tipler.

Bess has coached hundreds of athletes over the years including NBA All-Star Latrell Sprewell, and Tipler.

"I think if you go through him you can play anywhere and play for anyone," said Tipler.

"I think the thing I really appreciate the most is young men leaving here and doing well," said Bess.

Coach Bess' 1000 wins put him ahead of some of college basketballs greats like John Wooden and Dean Smith but for this humble coach who has been at the same school for 36 years it isn't that big of an accomplishment.

"I don't like to compare myself with other people because I always come up short. The only thing I can say is when you get 1000 no one else has done that so it's special," said Bess.

Bess has coached his entire collegiate career at Three Rivers and with all his success he has had to turn down offers to move to other schools.

"I can remember I just broke out in a cold sweat and thought I don't want that job because I was comfortable here," said Bess.

After winning 1000 games, is retirement next in Coach Bess' future?

"I have no plans. I think some people thought when I got to a 1000 I would retire on the spot but I never had those intentions," said Bess.

With 1000 wins already under his belt Coach Bess is now working for another 1000. Saturday Three Rivers is celebrating homecoming and Coach Bess' 1000th win following the school's game. The highlight of the ceremony will be the naming of its court as the "Gene Bess Court".