You’ll love this.
Barry Hinson is the coach of Southern Illinois’ basketball team. That’s the Salukis, for those o’ y’all who get confused. And a Saluki is a dog, only it’s an Egyptian dog. Go look it up; I don’t have the time to cure yer ignorance and satisfy yer curiosity while I gotta job to do.
Anyhow, Hinson’s in his second year, and he’s in the middle of a big rebuilding job. The coach before he took over was a guy named Chris Lowery, and Lowery took the program from 78-26 and three trips to the NCAA dance in his first three years…to 22-42 in his 7th and 8th year. Including 8-23 in that last year. So they fired Lowery and brought in Hinson, who was an assistant at Kansas and had been pretty successful before that as the coach at Southwest Missouri State (and Missouri State, after they did one o’ them USL-style name changes).
They went 14-17 last year, and they’re tryin’ to get better this year. But they ain’t succeedin’. They’re 2-8 so far. And Tuesday they lost their fourth straight game, a 73-65 stinker to 5-5 Murray State.
So Hinson had enough, and he laid into his team good and fine.
Of course, since this is 2013 and anybody who don’t sound like they just came from a sensitivity training seminar has gotta go through the Spanish Inquisition, naturally the big question is what kinda fallout a college hoop coach will get for gripin’ about his players.
Turns out, it’s not so bad.
“I stand by everything I said last night, but I apologize for singling out one individual. I should be chastised for that,” Hinson told USA TODAY Sports in a phone interview Wednesday morning. “Let’s get something straight: I didn’t grab anybody, I didn’t hit anybody. I didn’t even use profanity. I just want my kids to play harder. You’ve gotta be able to criticize in this society. I want what’s best for my players.
“I told my players the same (message) in the locker room in a calmer manner (Tuesday night). I believe in telling people to their face exactly how I feel. I say what’s on my heart.”
[Athletic director Mario] Moccia spoke to Southern Illinois chancellor Rita Cheng but said the administration decided not to punish Hinson.
“We don’t ever condone a coach publicly criticizing a student-athlete,” Moccia told USA TODAY Sports by phone Wednesday afternoon. “I spoke to Barry about governing his passions. I’ve been hearing, ‘Their AD is out of touch, he condones that (behavior).’ No, but I recognize that’s part of who Barry is. The nation doesn’t know Barry. I do and I know for a fact that Barry cares about these kids, and their emotional bank accounts are full. He’s demonstrated that in the last 20 months with us.
“One of the main reasons we hired Barry was because of his passion. We need a coach who will engage with the fans and be honest to them. I think he was caught up in frustration because he feels like he let people down.”
Hinson said he received hundreds of supportive emails and texts from parents around the country and his coaching peers, including Kansas coach Bill Self, who gave his full support.
Oh, but guess what? The team full of mama’s boys who play like crap an’ go 2-8 an’ drive the coach up the wall…didn’t like it.
The reception wasn’t all well received, though, particularly within SIU’s team. Senior forward Davante Drinkard tweeted, “I can’t believe the little man had the nerve to call us mama’s boys. Smh. I guess this is where Our team learns to point the finger.”
Ol’ Davante deleted that tweet, though, and there was this…
Wow. Just saw all if the twitter madness. I realize what I said was wrong. Sorry to all those that were offended.
— Davante Drinkard (@Drinkard_04) December 18, 2013
All o’ which makes me wonder…what woulda happened if they’d had Twitter when this guy was still coachin’? (WARNING: This ain’t safe for work)