By LARRY HYPES
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
TAZEWELL, Va. —
There is a new basketball leader at the Dog House.
William Lester has been named by the school board as the head boys basketball coach at Tazewell High School. Lester, who has been a member of the coaching staff since 2002, is a 12-year employee at THS.
He replaces Lee Walker, who resigned and is now a coach in the Virginia High program at Bristol.
“I am very excited about the prospect of being head coach here at Tazewell,” said Lester. “I think every coach wants a chance to run a program and I am looking forward to the opportunity.”
Lester was an outstanding student-athlete at Honaker, where he graduated as co-valedictorian in 1990. He ran track for coach Doug Hubbard.
For three years, he was a guard for the Tigers of the Black Diamond District, playing for the late coach Grabern Barton when Honaker stars Steven McNulty (1,857 points) and Steven Compton (1,776 points) set BDD scoring records.
Lester is a graduate of Virginia Intermont College of Bristol. He has also served as boys’ varsity tennis coach and in addition to working with Walker, he was an assistant to former Bulldog coach Tim Rasnick.
“We are excited about having William take over this position,” said Tazewell lead administrator Cynthia Bea-vers. “I think he will do an excellent job.”
Lester, who will be joined by incoming assistant coach Tony Curto, a Bluefield High graduate, is working to build the program foundation.
“We lost some key players, including Noah Walker and Jalen Jordan, among others,” said the new coach. “Noah was our leading rebounder and shot blocker, and Jalen was a 1,000-point scorer. Those kinds of athletes are hard to replace.”
He continued, “We are pleased to have Colin Hancock and Tanner Catron returning in our backcourt, and to have both Juwan Jordan Jesse Mountain back with us up front.
“We’ll see what happens when tryouts and practice start. We have some ability and are looking for a few more good men to join us.”
Tryouts will be held on Monday, Nov. 11, with the season opening scheduled at Marion on Dec. 3. Tazewell plays half its schedule before Christmas, with the first home game set against Graham on Friday, Dec. 5.
Tazewell is currently hosting open gym sessions on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6-8 p.m. and attendance has been encouraging.
Lester said, “I want us to be competitive in every game. We have not been in double digits in victories for a while and that is a primary goal.
“When we see our final roster, then we can utilize our plan for offense and defense. If we have enough size, we can play some half-court offense; we’ll just have to adapt our style to the players who come out. I think we will have some good talent on our team.”
Lester envisions a very competitive season under the new Virginia High School League system which has de-emphasized the long-time district format and now concentrates on opponents’ won-loss records.
He feels that traditional foes such as Virginia High — with former Bulldog Noah Walker — as a top team, along with perennial powers Abingdon and Lebanon, among others.
Lester lives in Tazewell with his wife, LoriAne, and daughter, Kaylee.