Barry Hinson couldn’t be happier to be back home as a coach in the Missouri Valley Conference.
“I’ve been very public with how I feel about this conference. I just love it,” Hinson said. “I’ve had opportunities in the four years that I’ve been out (of the MVC), I’ve had opportunities to be a coach somewhere else … they weren’t the right job for me.”
Hinson was formally announced as the new SIU men’s basketball coach Wednesday at the SIU Arena. He was the head coach of Missouri State from 1999 to 2008 before serving in an administrative capacity for Kansas the past four years. Hinson also served as the head coach of Oral Roberts from 1997 to 1999.
“I really wanted this job, and I tried as best as I could do to present that to everybody I ran across,” Hinson said.
Hinson said he appreciated the efforts of Athletic Director Mario Moccia and Chancellor Rita Cheng to keep the search private because he said he didn’t need his name to be in the paper.
“I don’t want an ego like that, I just want to be your coach,” Hinson said. “Thankfully, that worked out.”
Hinson didn’t make the NCAA tournament during his 11-year coaching career at Missouri State and Oral Roberts, and he said this will be one of his primary motivations moving forward as the new Saluki men’s basketball coach.
Hinson served in administrative capacities for Kansas after being let go at Missouri State, and he said he dreaded watching the NCAA tournament because they would always talk about the top teams who didn’t make it to the tournament.
“Three of those were my teams, and I’m not happy about it,” Hinson said. “Is it a motivating factor? You’re doggone right it is.”
Former Missouri State Athletic Director Bill Rowe said it wasn’t fair its teams were passed over, even when its Ratings Per Index (RPI), which is used to help rank college basketball teams, was in the 20s and 30s. Rowe said he expects Hinson to fit right in with the Carbondale community, and that he did more than any other coach to connect with fans.
Hinson was signed to a five-year contract worth $250,000 a year for the first two seasons, with raises to $300,000 in the 2014-2015 season, $325,000 the season after that, and $350,000 in the final year of the contract, according to a press release.
SIUC Chancellor Rita Cheng said the financial constraints of the school played a significant role in the amount of money in the contract.
“We were upfront with all of the candidates about (the financial situation). We weren’t about mirroring the contract of the past, we were creating something very different,” Cheng said. “Every one of those candidates knew we were putting together a fair but modest package for the next head coach.”
Cheng said there were plenty of incentives in Hinson’s contract for academic performance, winning on the court and going deep into the tournament.
Despite not making the NCAA tournament in his coaching career, Hinson made four National Invitation Tournaments and graduated 46 of the 48 seniors who played for him. His career record is 205-140.
Athletic Director Mario Moccia declined all interview requests during the 26-day coaching search and kept the members of the search committee private until Wednesday. He said the search committee consisted of six people: Provost John Nicklow, track and field coach Connie Price-Smith, broadcaster Greg Starrick, Faculty Chairman of Athletics Harold Bardo, former Board of Trustees chairman Roger Tedrick and booster Greg Cook.
Moccia said he also consulted AAU basketball coach Mike Mullins, the father of former Saluki Bryan Mullins, about the list of candidates.
Ten candidates were personally interviewed for the job, while four were brought to Carbondale for final interviews, Moccia said. While not specifically naming any of the candidates, Moccia said the names reported by the media were, for the most part, accurate.
Reports said former Illinois coach Bruce Weber, Southern Indiana head coach Rodney Watson and Vanderbilt assistant coach Dan Muller were considered among others as finalists for the job along with Hinson.
“There was an unbelieveable amount of interest in this job,” Moccia said. “(The job) is perceived very, very high.”
Hinson said he will travel back to New Orleans for Kansas’ Final Four game Saturday against Ohio State, and he won’t make any decisions about who he will bring on as assistant coaches until Kansas either wins or is eliminated from the NCAA tournament.