20 Under 40: Telvin Hodo
It was a chance encounter during his freshman year at Morehouse College that changed the direction of his life.
Telvin Hodo, a Troup High graduate, was in the Morehouse College gym nearly 10 years ago when a local middle-school basketball team came in to use the facility. Hodo took an interest in the team and volunteered to help out, a decision that led to an intense interest in coaching and guiding young people that continues to this day.
“I didn’t have any coaching experience,” Hodo said. “It stopped me on a dime. This is what I want to do. Even teaching kids that weren’t necessarily going to get playing time, but seeing the joy the game brought to them, it was like, ‘I can do this. This is fun.’”
Hodo not only coached the team, but he served as a mentor to the players.
“I’d sit behind the bench, and talk, and (the head coach) invited me to his class, and I spent four or five days in his class,” Hodo said. “I’d come in and sit, talk and help the guys out. It really gave me a sense of purpose of what I need to do in life.”
That valuable, life-altering experience of helping with the basketball team stayed with Hodo, and when he returned to Troup County after graduating from Georgia, he began his own travel basketball team, the West Point Kings. Hodo’s hope was to not only teach the sport, but to provide some inspiration and motivation to young men in the area, to let them know they could achieve their goals.
“Once I got to LaGrange in 2016, I started it,” Hodo said. “I had upwards of 20 young men at one point. I look to mentor, tutor, help them make better decisions, talk through things.”
While Hodo remains committed to the West Point Kings, he also makes an impact on young people as a math teacher.
Hodo’s message to all of the young people he works with, whether it’s the players on his travel team or his students, is that there is a path to success, whether it’s in athletics or not.
“You can be here (in college),” Hodo said. “They see, it’s possible. I’m like, OK, that’s the goal. Let’s go do it.”