By VAN HOLLAND
The Tarboro Vikings have made a coaching change in boy's basketball. They hired Reggie Bess as the new Vikings skipper April 26. Bess is a former Viking basketball star who played for Tarboro in 1995-96. He was part of a team that went to the Eastern Regional finals in 95.
"I am excited to be back home," Bess said. "This is where it all started for me and I proud to be able to come back and coach where I played high school ball at. There is nothing like coaching in the purple and gold."
Bess thinks being from the community and knowing a lot of the kids parents will be a positive right from the start. He believes it will make a world of difference, because he can relate to the kids.
"Having community support is a big thing," Bess said. "When a coach is able to get support from the local community then that makes things go a lot smoother."
Bess is taking over a defunct program where former coach Craig Savage was unable to turn the Vikings into a winning program. He went 9-37 during his two years as coach and failed to make the playoffs. The Vikings made the move, because the administration wanted an in-house coach for the team and felt like no other time was better then the present.
Bess has one-year of varsity basketball coaching experience. He coached at North Edgecombe in 2012, where he was in the process of trying to rebuild the program there.
Bess looked to former North Edgecombe coach Danny Ward as one of his mentors. Bess took over the Warriors program after Ward retired in 2011. He said Ward was like a father figure teaching him the ins and outs as a coach.
"I learned a lot from Coach Ward," Bess said. "I want to use some of those things in my new journey as the Tarboro coach."
Tarboro will be in a new classification and conference next season and Bess said there is no better way to begin then with a fresh start.
Bess said there will be change in the program. He wants his team to be on the same page and said it can't be no I in team. He wants his team to work together as one unit and grow into the best team possible.
"I want team chemistry first and foremost," Bess said. "We are going to work through our motto of "One heart, one team, one family" and that is what will be emphasized."
Bess is an uptempo type coach and wants to run a man-to-man defense and use full court pressure to force teams to turn the ball over. He said to get his team where he wants to be, they have to get into the weight room and get stronger and faster. He also wants his team to get a lot of games in during the summer months, because he feels that will be a positive so they can have some game time in as a group before starting the season.
"We need to learn each other and know one another's strong and weak points," Bess said. "If we have a weak point then we can capitalize on that and become a better team."
Bess will have some of the players he coached on the Vikings JV team this past season, where he tried to begin rebuilding from that stand point. His record didn't show success, but overall he was pleased with what his team had accomplished. He saw them becoming young men right before his eyes. These same young men he coached last season, will be the majority of his varsity team this upcoming season.
He said the positive thing about that is he won't have to go back through and teach the same defense or offensive plays, because they already know what they are.
Bess said he is still deciding on his assistants. He said he will probably have former Vikings coach Leshaun Jenkins come aboard and be an assistant. Jenkins helped Bess with the JV program last season.
Bess said he also has some other candidates that are possibilities, but he is still working on that.