Spartan Basketball’s Talvin Hester: Keeping the Faith, Staying Grounded

Coach Hester on the court with players.

“Black History symbolizes the people who laid the path for what our country was supposed to stand for. They fought for us so that now, we can all live in a society that is free and can join together.” (Dillon Adams photo)

(Editor’s note: In celebration of Black History Month, we profiled five campus leaders. Here’s the first in the series.)

By Amanda Holst, Public Affairs Assistant


Men’s Basketball Assistant Coach Talvin Hester enjoys helping young people just starting out in life, and he hopes it means as much to them as it does to him.

“I always had a desire to help young men and I think that basketball is what I do best and so I use that as a vehicle,” he said.

After graduating in 2003 from Texas Wesleyan University, Arlington, with a degree in interdisciplinary studies and education, Hester worked as an assistant coach at Texas College and Prairie View A&M, where he spent six years.

When the Prairie View Panthers emerged as a defensive powerhouse, SJSU Head Coach George Nessman took note and persuaded Hester to come to San Jose State, where he has coached since 2010.

“It’s gratifying going to bigger situations as my career progressed,” Hester said. “The people I work with are like my family away from family.”

Hester has observed over the years that no matter where players are from, they need the same things.

“They all need the same growth and they all need the same mentorship or leadership to do the things they need to do,” Hester said.

The Best Advice

What Hester remembers the most from his mentors is that life is a marathon, not a sprint. The best advice, however, came from his mother.

“She’s taught me that if I can keep my faith and stay grounded, then I will stay blessed,” Hester said.

According to Hester, she stayed fast in her faith, which gave her the strength to raise three kids on her own.

“People complain all the time about what they don’t have,” Hester said. “She never did that in front of us. She always told us what we could do.”

His favorite quote reflects this: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,” Philippians  4:13.

A Lasting Impression

When asked who in history has impacted his life, Hester answered Ben Jobe, a basketball coaching icon at historically black colleges and universities.

He is best known for his 12-year tenure as the head coach at Southern University. He also served as head coach at Alabama A&M, Alabama State, Talladega, Tuskegee and South Carolina State.

“He was one of the first black coaches to coach at what had been an all-white university, and one of the only head coaches from among the historically black colleges and universities to win a national tournament,” Hester said.

Hester dreams of giving back and leaving a lasting impression, the same way Jobe did.

“Hopefully, some young man will look at me in that same manner, and say that I inspired him to do some of the things he wanted to do,” Hester said.