After 36 years, Bess is in no hurry to change offices

After 36 years, Bess is in no hurry to change offices

The opening of the Libla Family Sports Complex will bring a lot of change and a lot of movement for the Three Rivers basketball players and coaches.

The coaches will get the chance to move their belongings from the Bess Activity Center to their new office spaces in the new facility.

Three Rivers men’s coach Gene Bess, though, has seen a stockpile of items grow in his office. Lined along the wall are items like his 1991-92 NJCAA Division I Coach of the Year plaque, a framed picture with his signature among every other inductee into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2006, multiple news clippings from years past and more.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg. The shelves hold numerous books regarding basketball, coaching and various philosophies of the sport. His desk contains CDs with game film on them, old practice plans and even some cleaning supplies. The office serves as a storage space for ball racks, pads for practice drills and more.

Bess has been in the office since the gym opened in 1982, and he’s in no rush to move everything and start getting rid of the old stuff.

“This has been (assistant coach Brian Bess), (athletic supervisor Willie Hilburn) and my office plus a storage area, so it’s been well-used over the years,” Coach Gene said. “There’s been some things that accumulated that we’re going to have to get rid of, but I’m not feeling any great urgency to try to get out of here or anything.”

Coach Gene’s decision to keep many of the items in the office space at the BAC stems mainly from his comfort in the space after 36 years.

Coach Brian said it was mentioned that the new office spaces will include new desks and chairs, and he and Coach Gene will still share an office at the new facility.

“Might as well (share the office),” Coach Brian said. “We’ve been in there a while. Actually, we do have a lot of good meetings in there, and it’s been good to have players in there, and it’s been big enough to where we can slide a chair in and talk to players, so that’s good.”

He isn’t surprised Coach Gene is in no rush to get everything moved over into the new facility because of how much is in there and has accumulated throughout the years.

“He has no place to put it at home, so he’s either got to move it over or probably throw it away,” Coach Brian said. “And I think that’s what’s hurting him. He doesn’t like to throw it away; thinks he might need it.”

Coach Gene isn’t being urged out of the office anytime soon, though. Three Rivers President Dr. Wesley Payne said the coaches don’t have to be in any hurry to move things over to the new facility.

“The coaches have been told that there’s no rush to move their belongings to their old offices to the new,” Payne said. “But at some point, they need it to fully occupy their new office.”

Three Rivers women’s basketball coach Jeff Walk has been at Three Rivers for nearly 40 fewer years than Coach Gene, and he said if he had as much compiled from years past as the men’s coaches, he wouldn’t want to move it all over either.

“I made the comment we were going to shrink wrap the desks and take them up there that way it doesn’t move. That drawer fell two years ago, and it’s still there,” Walk said while pointing to a lone drawer on the floor under his desk. “... I couldn’t imagine having 49 years worth of stuff.”

Despite the impending changes and maybe eventually getting rid of some things that have accumulated over three and a half decades at the BAC, Coach Gene expressed some excitement for the change.

“This is going to be a new situation up there where we’re going to have a lot more space and everything, so that part is exciting, but we also feel comfortable here,” Coach Gene said.


Nate Fields - Daily American Republic