Larry “Chip” Hester, a longtime college football coach with head coaching experience, took over as N.C. A&T’s wide receivers coach in 2014. He earned additional duties in 2015 when he also took over the Aggies offensive coordinator responsibilities.
N.C. A&T’s offense took off under Hester in 2016 when they ranked No. 1 in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference in ranked No. 1 in the MEAC in 3rd down conversion, total first downs, rushing offense, scoring offense, fewest tackles for loss allowed, fewest sacks allowed and total offense. Nationally, the Aggies ranked 11th in scoring offense, 26th in rushing offense and 39th in total offense in 2016. In his first season as offensive coordinator, the Aggies had the No. 1 rushing offense in the MEAC and the 28th-best rushing offense in the nation. The Aggies also had the No. 2 scoring offense in the MEAC and they ranked 30th in the nation. The offense scored 78 percent of the time when they were in the red zone.
Hester also helped Tarik Cohen win two straight offensive players of the year in the MEAC as the offensive coordinator. Cohen also broke the school’s single-season rushing record two years in a row as the OC. Quarterback Lamar Raynard developed into a second-team All-MEAC player under Hester in 2016.
As wide receivers coach, receiver Denzel Keyes became the Aggies all-time leader in career touchdown receptions (25) under Hester. He tied a single-season school record for touchdown receptions (10) in 2016, while leading the MEAC in TD receptions. In 2015, Keyes ranked second in the conference and 23rd in the nation in touchdown receptions in 2015. Keyes earned two second-team all-conference nods. In 2014, Desmond Lawrence earned third-team All-MEAC honors. Hester also coached Elijah Bell to rookie of the year in the MEAC in 2016.
Hester previously spent 11 seasons (2002-12) at NCAA Division II Catawba College in Salisbury, N.C., as its head football coach. His 70 wins placed him second on Catawba’s all-time wins list and his .588 winning percentage stands fourth all-time. He came to Catawba as an assistant under then head coach David Bennett in 1995. Hester served in that capacity for seven seasons before becoming Catawba’s head coach. His duties prior to becoming head coach were to coordinate the passing game, coach the wide receivers and coordinate all football recruiting. In addition to his football duties, Hester also served as assistant athletic director for compliance and an advisor for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes programs.
For three of his years as an assistant, he was a part of the South Atlantic Conference Coaching Staff of the Year. The Indians won back-to-back conference titles in 2000 and 2001 and qualified for the playoffs from 1999-2002, advancing to the semifinals in 2001.
As a rookie head coach in 2002 he led the Indians to the SAC title and an NCAA playoff berth. The Indians were also a playoff team in 2003 after winning the conference. Four seasons later, Hester was named SAC and AFCA Region Coach of the Year after guiding the Indians to an 11-2 mark, a league championship and a berth in the playoffs for the fourth straight year.
For two seasons (1996-98), Hester served as the head coach for the Catawba College men’s golf program. Hester guided the team to the 1998 SAC championship and an NCAA regional berth in both seasons. He coached two All-Americans, a SAC Player of the Year and a SAC Freshman of the Year.
Hester came to Catawba from Guilford College. A 1992 graduate of Guilford, Hester earned a bachelor’s degree in business 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 and field 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, a native of Raleigh, N.C., resides in Salisbury with his wife, Trish. Trish is an assistant principal at West Rowan Middle School. They have two daughters, Morgan and Tori. The Hesters are active members of First Baptist Church in Salisbury.