Hampton University softball coach and longtime NFCA member Tiny L. Laster, Jr. passed away Thurs., May 3, following an ongoing battle with kidney disease. A pioneer in women’s athletics since the implementation of Title IX in 1972, Laster was 61 years old. 

“This is such a tremendous loss not only for the Department of Athletics but for the Hampton community and the athletic community as a whole,” said Hampton Director of Athletics and head football coach Joe Taylor. “Coach Laster was an outstanding person, a great mentor and a great coach. He coached multiple sports during his time here at Hampton and in doing so he touched so many lives, particularly that of the young ladies whom he guided.” 

The head softball coach at Hampton since 1989 and a 13-year member of the NFCA, Laster built a Lady Pirate program that quickly became one the top teams in the Division II Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA), winning back-to-back conference titles in 1994 and 1995. When Hampton made the move to Division I, the success continued as the Lady Pirates snapped Florida A&M’s three-year championship winning streak to capture the 1996 MEAC crown. Last season Laster earned his 500th career victory with a win over North Carolina A&T in the MEAC Tournament and just two days ago he led Hampton to the 2007 regular season title with a doubleheader sweep of Delaware State. 

Laster also served as the women’s volleyball coach, where he just concluded 13th year. In just his first season with the Lady Pirates (1994), Laster led Hampton to a stimulating 27-5 overall mark in the regular season, and an impressive 22-2 record in conference play (CIAA). In 2005 the Lady Pirates posted their first winning season on the Division level with a mark of 20-15. 

Laster was not only known for softball and volleyball. In 1971, Tiny began his two-year period as the assistant women’s basketball coach at Tuskegee University in Alabama. The transition to working with the Golden Tigerettes was nothing new to Laster, who is a proud alumnus of Tuskegee. After spending his two years at Tuskegee, Laster decided to try new endeavors by taking over the reigns as head women’s basketball coach at Talladega College, also in Alabama. While serving as head coach, Laster led the Tornadoes to back-to-back 20-win seasons. 

After posting this monumental feat for Talladega, Laster eventually ventured back to his old stomping grounds of Tuskegee University, where he took over the position as head women’s basketball coach in 1976. On the ’82 campaign, the Tigerettes finished in second place in the first-ever NCAA Division II Women’s Basketball Tournament. During his 12 years at Tuskegee, Laster compiled a phenomenal 245-128 overall record, led the team to three consecutive Alabama Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AAIAW) championships, and was named as the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) Coach of the Year in 1979, 1982, and 1985. 

In 1988, Laster was ready to move once again, having accomplished all that he could in the state of Alabama. Laster took over the position as the head women’s basketball coach for the Lady Pirates. During his tenure with Hampton, Laster became the second winningest coach in the history of the school’s women’s basketball program. 

In his seven years at the helm of the Lady Pirates, Laster posted a 139-67 mark, led the team to four 20-win seasons, and three NCAA Division II Women’s Basketball Tournaments (1989, ’91, ’94). His best season came during the 1990-91 stretch, where the Lady Pirates finished the regular-season with a 26-6 record. By the conclusion of Laster’s career as the women’s basketball head coach, he had amassed over 400 victories to his credit. 

A native of Alabama, Laster received his bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Tuskegee University in 1967. In 1980, Laster decided to go back to school in order to earn his second degree, this time a master’s degree in chemistry, also from Tuskegee. He also earned a master’s degree in sports management from the United States Sports Academy in 1986. Laster was also a proud member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. 

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