BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) --- In a two-year stretch, Tiffany Porter-Talbert endured one of the toughest periods in her adult life. She enjoyed a six-year stint playing professional basketball in Germany but was forced to embark on a new life after her career fizzled out in 2016. She marauded through the top division in Germany, but an ACL tear forced her down into a lower division. It was then that she decided to carve a new path in life.
Porter-Talbert faced a harsh reality as she resorted to Uber and Lyft driving while finding her next step. She found that path in her aspiration to gain her master’s degree, but couldn’t stay away from basketball, so she sought out a position as a student-assistant coach. The California native ended up finding her new home at Doane University under the helm of Head Coach Tracee Fairbanks.
Porter-Talbert said, “That opportunity opened my eyes to coaching. I sat back and watched Coach Fairbanks, and I saw how she inspired those young ladies… That’s the moment that I knew that I wanted to become a coach.”
Her first chance in basketball ignited in Bowling Green, Kentucky, as a scrappy guard for Western Kentucky University. She became an instant fan favorite in Diddle Arena for her unparalleled work ethic. Porter-Talbert catapulted herself into the ranks of Hilltopper legends by giving maximum effort through every quarter of her Hilltopper career.
During her four years at WKU, she stuffed every category of the stat sheet. In program history, she ranks in the top ten for assists, rebounds, steals, and double-doubles. If that isn’t good enough for you, then how about the fact that she is one of four Lady Toppers in history to ever score 2,000 points.
There are two traits that Porter-Talbert instilled in herself that separated her from that that have come out of the tunnel at Diddle Arena. At the root of her success was a passion, and a deeply-rooted love for Western Kentucky University.
Even though her playing career ended, that love for WKU has never wavered. “To come back to Western has been nothing short of amazing for me. I walked through these doors as a player, now I can say that I’m walking through these doors as a coach. I take that very seriously along with getting involved in the community. Those are important things to me because this community has been so supportive of me.”
Porter-Talbert’s won the hearts of the Lady Topper faithful through her unparalleled work. She attacked the game of basketball with a drive that few have possessed. The WKU Hall of Famer flew all over John Oldham Court desperate to snag every loose ball and rebound like a rabid animal.
She credits that ability to maintain a high level of energy throughout her career to a woman who was in a similar role to Porter-Talbert’s current position. Former WKU assistant, and current University of Kentucky Associate Head Coach, Kyra Elzy helped create the beast that became Sun Belt Freshman of the Year
Porter-Talbert said, “In my playing career, she (Elzy) was the biggest inspiration for me because she pushed me to be the best player I could be. She challenged me to stick with it when times were tough. I’ve always been a hard worker, but even after she left, my mentality was to improve the weaknesses that she pointed out.”
It was coaches like Kyra Elzy that brought greatness to the Lady Topper basketball program. Porter-Talbert has taken the inspiration from Elzy to instill a hunger in the Lady Toppers to improve every single day. That drive to excel on the court, and passion for the university, are at the cornerstone of Porter-Talbert’s coaching philosophy. And, according to her, that’s where Lady Topper success will come from.