Fitness room named for powerlifting coach

Nov 1, 2012 | General News

He’s a living legend with a legacy that will continue to thrive at Louisiana Tech.
Billy Jack Talton, professor emeritus and powerlifting coach at Louisiana Tech from 1974 to 2001, will have his name remembered by power lifters in the future as the fitness room in the Maxie Lambright Intramural Sports Center is named after him at noon Saturday, Nov. 3.
The dedication of the new swimming pools and the honoring of Talton will take place in the complex’s atrium.
“Over his career, he has established a program and developed it to national recognition,” said Jim King, vice president for student affairs. “Coach Talton really did a wonderful job, and it’s not just about his accomplishments in athletics. It’s just as much about his accomplishments in the classroom as well.”
The fitness room will be the new home for the powerlifting team. Talton, a graduate of Louisiana Tech, said he was stunned when he heard the powerlifting team and the university wanted to honor him in this fashion.
“I was just surprised, honored and flattered,” he said. “I’m more symbolic, and the athletes are the real recipients of the award. It’s a recognition of their accomplishments, and I just happened to be part of it.”
Talton coached high school teams before coming to Tech, and he said the support of the administrations of the late Tech President F. Jay Taylor and President Dan Reneau allowed the team to gain national recognition.
“Even though we didn’t have many competitions that required a lot of expenses, it gets expensive moving 20 to 30 people to a location to compete,” Talton said. “We did it through fundraisers, through Dr. Taylor’s help and through the SGA.
“Dr. Reneau continued the support when he took over. We had a good rapport, and he gave the powerlifters a lot of respect and recognition. The university was exceptionally helpful.”
During his tenure at Tech, Talton led the men to 11 national championships and the women’s team to 11 national championships and coached athletes on the team who competed on an international scale, as well.
“I created this powerlifting team with a lot of help, and we gained the status we acquired near the end,” he said. “I enjoyed working with these men and women to accomplish these goals; it was competitive.”
Bobby Dowling, director of recreational activities, said the fitness room’s name would be a good fit.
“He was the coach of the powerlifting team for so long, and they had national championships,” Dowling said. “If you talk to anyone around the state about powerlifting or strength and condition, he is by far the expert in the field.”