Former Missouri State head basketball coach Barry Hinson, who has worked primarily as a fundraiser for Kansas University’s hoops program the past two years, on Tuesday was named Bill Self’s director of basketball operations.
Hinson, 49, replaces Brett Ballard, who recently was named head coach at Baker University after seven seasons at KU.
Hinson — his old title was KU director of external relations — will run KU’s camps and clinics, oversee academic progress of the players, assist with on-campus recruiting, team travel and video and the day-to-day operation of the program.
“I’ll enjoy doing whatever coach asks me to do,” said Hinson. “I don’t consider it a right to be in my position, I consider it to be a privilege. I feel I am truly part of a family at KU.”
Hinson, who long was an admirer of KU’s program from afar, has been awed by the experience of working in Lawrence.
“When I talk to my friends, I say, ‘Words cannot express the feeling you have when you first walk into Allen Fieldhouse, whether it be Late Night or a game,’” Hinson said. “It is something that can’t be written about or talked about. It has to be seen. Once you see it, then you not only understand it, but you respect it. I am at a university where the founding father of basketball was its first coach. Every day when I walk through that hallway to go to my office, it’s almost spiritual because you feel you are walking on hallowed basketball ground.”
As director of basketball operations, Hinson, who is entering his 29th season as part of a high school or college basketball program, will be allowed to sit on the bench. Though he can keep track of fouls and timeouts and assorted stats, he’s still not allowed to coach, in accordance with NCAA rules.
“I don’t mind saying I’ve died 1,000 deaths sitting over there in the corner or behind the bench the past two years. A game you’ve been a part of 29 years ... all of a sudden it comes to a half where you are not coaching, recruiting or sitting on the bench.”
Though Hinson would love to be a head coach again, he’s in no hurry to leave KU.
“I try to live in the now. I am a man of faith. I am a firm believer, if you wake up and do your best every day, something good is going to come out of it,” said Hinson, who embraced his fundraising role.
“We played golf in California last week. I’m with four guys from San Francisco. They are saying, ‘Here we are playing golf with a University of Kansas coach. We think we are going to get the scoop on KU basketball and all we’re doing is talking about barbecuing (Hinson is an outstanding cook).’
“Then one of them said, ‘The bottom line is we love it (talking to Hinson).’ I get phone calls or e-mails two to three times a week saying, ‘Hey, how do I cook this or that? What’s the best place to eat at?’ I take pride in it. I want to be more than a basketball coach,” Hinson said.
Self is happy to have the personable Hinson aboard for at least another year.
“When Brett left to go to Baker, which was a great move for him and his family, the obvious was to elevate Barry to that position,” Self said. “We look forward to him holding that position hopefully for years to come.”