Lucille Hester has amassed an astounding list of accomplishments as an educator, athlete, official, coach, youth sports administrator, and youth advocate. She is presently a Counselor and Athletic Director at Hardy Middle School, in the D.C. Public Schools, where she developed and administers the first athletic program in the school’s history. Hester is a former Health and Physical Education teacher, interim vice principal and coach. Ms. Hester presently serves also as Chair of the District of Columbia Interscholastic Athletic Association Football Committee that sponsors the Annual “Turkey Bowl Game”, the City’s popular High School Championship Football Competition.
Prior to entering in the public school system for the District of Columbia in 1967, she coached and officiated at Washington High School in Southwest Georgia beginning August 1961, where she introduced students to swimming and tennis, sports not traditionally available for African-American students during the early 1960’s. Additionally, she raised funds and solicited donations to begin the first ever football program for African – Americans in Southwest Georgia.
During her tenure as a teacher and coach in the District of Columbia Public Schools, Hester continued her work with youth sports and expanded the opportunities for young people through a variety of programs. Hester is known nationally for her contribution to the development and organization of the National Collegiate Athletic Association National Youth Sports Program (NCAA NYSP), funded by the United States Congress in 1968. The model NCAA NYSP began in 1969 as a pilot at two universities and since expanded to over 200 university and college campuses by 2005. The National Youth Sports Program at the University of the District of Columbia (UDC), where Hester has served as Executive Director and Program Director since its inception, has served hundreds of thousands of the region’s youth. The UDC NYSP, which became the flagship model for all NYSP programs, was cited in the Congressional Record by the 100th Congress for achieving national recognition in volume 134, July 11, 1988.
Youth involved in this program have been exposed to programs Hester developed at the White House where they learned the political process, participated with President Clinton and the Late Peter Jennings in the “President Talks with Children”, participated with President George H.W. Bush, Muhammad Ali, Collegiate, Professional and Olympic athletes at the White House in the “Great American Workout”, introduced and presented testimony in Congress for the continuation of funding for youth both locally and nationally for sports and educational activities.
In 1976 Hester incorporated the Jabbo Kenner Youth Football League, which has served thousands of boys and girls in the metropolitan area. Hester also founded the Metropolitan DC Chapter of Black Women in Sport Foundation where she serves as President/Executive Director and is a BWSF Board Member in the National organization headquartered in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. This non-profit organization is devoted to increasing the participation of girls and women in all areas of sport – on the playing fields, courts, and in the boardrooms.
Hester is the co-founder and Executive Director of Youth Visions, Inc., a 501c3 international leadership program providing youth the opportunity and the means to travel abroad, to acquire valuable experience, and to establish relations academically, economically, artistically, and athletically at no cost to participating youth. The youth in this program are selected based on their conduct and accomplishments, and have ventured to sports, artistic, and cultural events in countries around the world, including Sweden, Germany, Israel, Ghana, South Africa and Japan.
To preserve the legacy of her late brother, “Bullet Bob” Hayes, the only athlete to earn a Super Bowl ring and Olympic gold medal, Hester founded the Bob Hayes Foundation in 2005. The Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to honoring Hayes’ contributions to athletics through youth sports, life skills sessions, and scholarship opportunities, locally, nationally, and internationally. Hester serves as CEO and President.
In 1998 Hester, along with the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation and former United States Surgeon General Jocelyn Elders, was inducted into the National Hall of Fame for The Women’s Institute on Sport and Education. In 2006 she was the first female inducted into the National Youth Sports Hall of Fame, housed at the NCAA. The prestigious Pigskin Club, the oldest sports organization in the nation, opened its doors to its first female member, Lucille W. Hester, in 2001, and she now serves as the organization’s first female president. In December 2007, Ms. Hester was enshrined in the American Youth Football Hall of Fame (AYF) as its first African American female under the tutelage of Joe Galat, former NFL Football Coach. In April of 2008, Lucille Hester was the first female to be enshrined in the area of sports in the District of Columbia Hall of Fame. In 1988 the Mayor of Washington DC and the City Council proclaimed that July 28th be named “Lucille Hester Day”. Ms. Hester was enshrined February 2009 in the Eastern Board of Officials (EBO) Hall of Fame. Previously, in 1982, Lucille Hester was enshrined in the Cardozo Swimming Hall of Fame.
Throughout her life, with an amazing eye for sport talent, both tapped and untapped, Hester has mentored numerous young adults who have gone on to hold positions in the sports world. These men and women work in schools, colleges and universities, and in professional sports as administrators, coaches, journalists, attorneys, and sports agents. She is often called to speak at national and international conferences, seminars, and symposiums. Ms. Hester is the recipient of hundreds of awards and recognitions.
Ms. Hester has been recognized for her tremendous contribution to activities benefiting youth, but is most proud of her two daughters, Rosalynn R. Hester and Z. Melodee Hester Jackson and son- in- law Craig Jackson.