When you get an itch, you scratch it.
That was Jeff Hines’ simple explanation for wanting to get back in the coaching world.
Hines dedicated his life to coaching before retiring from Benjamin Russell two years ago. He coached boys and girls basketball at Holtville before landing at BRHS where he was the head boys basketball coach for seven years.
Hines led the Wildcats to an area championship and a spot in the postseason in his final year in 2017 before hanging up his hat for what he thought would be for good.
Fast forward until about six months ago, and Hines realized he needed to put that hat back on again.
“Probably about six months ago, I said on numerous occasions that I wanted to get back into teaching and coaching,” Hines said. “Like they always say, ‘When you get an itch, you scratch it.’ I started putting some feelers out, but I wasn’t going to take just any job. I’m in a situation where I don’t have to just take any job. It was going to have to be a job that checked all the boxes, and Chambers Academy was that job.”
Just a few weeks ago, Hines officially got his coaching face back on as he was named the girls basketball coach for Chambers, an AISA-A school in LaFayette.
Most of his time has been spent as a boys coach, but Hines said basketball is basketball and he’s not going to change his approach.
“I coach the girls just like I do the boys; I hold them accountable,” Hines said. “There are boundaries; if you cross the line, there are consequences. Girls are not going to ad lib. They’re going to do exactly what you tell them to do. Boys can vary from a pattern so to speak, which is sometimes good and sometimes bad. On the flip side, the girls are not going to vary from a pattern on a set. That can be good at times and that can be bad at times.”
Hitting the ground running was an important thing for Hines, who has already had more than two weeks of practices with his new group of girls. He said the players have all reacted fairly well to him, and one of the good things about Chambers is Hines isn’t in a position of rebuilding a program. In 2019, the Rebels made it to the AISA-A quarterfinals before falling to Wilcox, the eventual state champion.
“This is not a rebuild; this is to try to get them over the hump so to speak,” Hines said. “Our goal is to play in the state championship game. There’s no two ways about it. We have two seniors, three juniors and five sophomores, so it’s not like there’s not a good nucleus coming back.”
And although Hines, like any other coach, is in it to win it, getting back in the coaching business for him is more than about just winning basketball games.
“It’s about getting back on the floor,” Hines said. “It’s about creating relationships again with young people and teaching the game. It’s not about the rah rah that comes with the game. I love to be on the practice floor teaching and helping these young ladies be the best that they can be at playing the game of basketball.”