Catawba tabs Hester to guide Football program

   Chip Hester has been named to succeed David Bennett as head coach of the Catawba College football program, it was announced this afternoon by College officials.  Hester becomes the 20th football coach in school history.

“Eight years ago, Catawba took a chance and appointed a young assistant coach as Catawba’s head football coach,” stated Catawba College President J. Fred Corriher, Jr.  “That decision proved to be a wise one, and so again Catawba is looking to youth in the appointment of Chip Hester as head football coach, effective immediately.” “It is a great honor to be named the next head coach at Catawba College,” said Hester. I hope to continue the excellent tradition that has grown here at Catawba. The formula that is in place is a successful one.  The priorities of faith, family and education, followed by football, will remain in place.”

“It takes a man of strong character to want to follow David Bennett,” said Catawba Athletic Director Dennis Davidson.  “We believe that Chip Hester is that man.  Coach Hester is an outstanding young football coach, but just as important, is a great young man who will continue to have Catawba student athletes committed to academics, community service and playing winning football.”

“Due to the strength of the program, we felt it was important to promote from within,” continued Davidson. “Coach Bennett did not do it alone.  He had outstanding assistant coaches and now one of those coaches has agreed to take on the challenge that comes with the head coaching position.  I have the utmost confidence that Coach Hester will have success in maintaining a high level of excellence.”

 Hester joined the Catawba College football staff in 1995, serving under Bennett for the past seven seasons.  For three of those years, he was part of the South Atlantic Conference Coaching Staff of the Year.  The Indians have won back-to-back conference titles and have qualified for the NCAA II Playoffs for the past three seasons, advancing to the semifinals in 2001.

“Chip displays in his own life the kind of character and qualities we want to instill in our student athletes,” Corriher said.  “I am sure he can pick up where David Bennett has left off and bring us continued success in our football program.”

Hester came to Catawba from Guilford College.  His duties this past season was  to coordinate the passing game, coach the wide receivers and  coordinate all football recruiting.  In addition to his football duties, Hester also serves as assistant athletic director for compliance and advisor for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes program.

“We are fortunate in having such an outstanding individual as Coach Hester to serve as our head football coach,” added Catawba Vice-President Tom Childress.  “He is an outstanding individual both on and off the field and will continue to keep Catawba football at the high level it currently enjoys.”

Several of the current players were excited about the appointment of Coach Hester.  Linebacker Todd McComb, of Thomasville, NC, showed up in person to speak with the athletic director.  Davidson added, “When a player takes the time to drive in during Christmas break to pledge his support to Coach Hester, you know you have the right man in place.”

For two seasons, 1996-98, Hester served as the head coach for the Catawba College men’s golf program.  He guided the team to the 1998 South Atlantic Conference Championship and to NCAA II Regional berths in both seasons.  He coached two All-Americans, a SAC Player of the Year and a SAC Freshman of the Year.  

A 1992 graduate of Guilford College, Hester earned a bachelor's degree in business management.  He completed a master's degree in sports management at Georgia Southern in 1993.  While completing his master's degree, Hester worked as an intern at Catawba, assisting football, sports information and athletic operations.  He graduated from Millbrook High School in Raleigh in 1988.

Hester was a standout athlete in football and track at Millbrook.  He earned honorable mention all-conference honors in football.  At Guilford, Hester was a four-year football letterman (wide receiver), earning the Golden Helmet Award and Leadership Award as a senior.  He was also a member of the Varsity Athletic Council and Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

He began his coaching career as a volunteer assistant coach at Millbrook High School, working with receivers.  He followed as a graduate assistant coach (receivers) at Catawba in 1993.

     Hester, born and reared in Raleigh, NC, resides in Salisbury with his wife, Trish.  Trish is a mathematics teacher at North Rowan High School and coaches volleyball.  They have a daughter, Morgan Claire (4), and are expecting a second daughter in April.  The Hesters are active members of First Baptist Church in Salisbury.


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