Oct. 4, 1999
By Jacob Barker
CLEMSON, S.C. – Jack Hines is the new defensive backs coach at Clemson, and over the years he has become very familiar with one of college football’s most famous families, the Bowdens. During his coaching career, he has learned the intricacies of football from the likes of Bobby, Terry and Tommy Bowden.
Although each of these men have played an important role in Hines’ development as a coach, it was another Bowden that first grabbed his attention.
While practicing football one afternoon as a student at Morgantown High School in West Virginia, Hines noticed a girl that he had never seen before checking into the high school. The girl was Robyn Bowden, daughter of Bobby Bowden. He and Robyn were introduced, and eight years later they married. The two have been married for 25 years, and throughout this time Robyn has been Hines’ biggest supporter. “She was a cheerleader in college and she is probably my biggest cheerleader now.”
Although they met even before Robyn’s father had become a household name, her sense for the game of football has always amazed Hines. “She is pretty knowledgeable about the game because she has been around it all her life. She knows when to leave me alone, and when to get on me,” Hines said.
Hines attended college at West Virginia University where during his freshman year he played basketball for the Mountaineers. The following year, Bobby Bowden was named head football coach at West Virginia. Due to injuries in the Mountaineer secondary, coach Bowden encouraged Hines to come out for the football team. It was then that Hines decided to give up basketball for the chance to compete on the gridiron. “I simply felt there was a better future for me in football than in basketball,” Hines said.
Hines lettered one year as a defensive back at West Virginia, and in 1972 graduated with a bachelor’s of science degree in physical education. Upon graduation from West Virginia, he was unsure of his future career path.
“Initially when I graduated from college I wanted to be a college professor. I decided, though, that spending my time doing research was not going to be as fun as working with athletes.”
Due to his intense passion for athletics, Hines decided to enter the world of coaching. For the next six years he served as assistant coach at Morgantown High School.
In 1980, Hines returned to West Virginia where he served as a volunteer assistant and received a master’s degree in physical education.
In 1985, Hines was reunited with Bobby Bowden at Florida State. He served as a graduate assistant coach for the next two years while he pursued a specialist education degree in athletic administration. While at Florida State, he coached current NFL star Deion Sanders.
After earning his specialist degree from Florida State in 1986, Hines went to Samford College in Alabama where he worked as defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach over the next five years.
In 1993, Hines was hired under Terry Bowden to coach the defensive backs at Auburn. During the 1993 season, his defensive backs helped lead Auburn to a perfect 11-0 record and a number-four ranking in the final Associated Press poll.
“I was leaving church one Sunday and a guy grabbed me by the arm and said, “Did you see that Robert Hines boy play ball Friday night? He’s the best athlete we’ve had around Auburn for a long time,” Terry Bowden said.
“It’s kind of funny, because when Tommy and I were growing up in Morgantown (WV) they said the same thing about Robert’s dad, Jack. Jack Hines was a star in every sport he played in high school and went on to start for my father at West Virginia. Things haven’t changed much in the Hines family.
“Jack was an assistant coach for me for 12 years, most of those as the coordinator. Our first three years at Auburn we broke a lot of records on defense for interceptions. Jack was the coach for the best years in Auburn history by the secondary. He will do a great job at Clemson,” stated Bowden.
During the 1994 season, the Auburn secondary picked off 22 passes, the fourth highest total in school history. In a game against LSU in 1994, Auburn intercepted five fourth quarter passes and returned three of them for touchdowns en route to a 30-26 win. During his first two seasons at Auburn, the Tigers returned eight interceptions for touchdowns.
While at Auburn, Hines coached future Arizona Cardinal Dell McGee, consensus first-team All-American Brian Robinson, and 1995 Co-SEC Freshman Defensive Player-of-the-Year Martavious Houston. He also coached current Cincinnati Bengal and former All-American Takeo Spikes.
During the last three seasons at Auburn, Hines served as inside linebackers coach and worked along side current Clemson defensive ends coach Rodney Allison.
Early in the 1999 season, the Clemson defensive backs have shown tremendous improvement under Hines. With two seniors, a junior, and a sophomore starting in the secondary, Hines has done an excellent job of molding experience with youth. Sophomore cornerback Alex Ardley is quick to point out how Hines’ coaching philosophy has allowed him to become more comfortable as a player. “Coach Hines stresses that we must have short memory in order to play in the secondary. No matter what happens, he tells us to come back that much harder on the next play.”
When it comes to coaching football, Hines is all business. He is a quiet guy off the field, but Ardley says don’t let that fool you.
“He is pretty reserved on the field too, but he can get very loud when he needs to.”
His no nonsense approach to football is evident when questioned about his favorite hobby. Hines is a passionate golfer, often firing rounds in the mid 70’s. During football season, however, you will not find him anywhere near the driving range.
“I don’t play golf from August through February. When the end of recruiting comes, then I might think about picking up the clubs again. I am totally involved with football this time of year. There is no time for golf now.”
Although Hines has enjoyed early success in his first season at Clemson, the transition has been difficult for his biggest fan, Robyn. For the past year she has remained in Auburn with their two children Robert and Jacquelyn. She spends Friday nights watching Robert compete on the football field as a senior at Auburn High School. Her weekends are spent traveling across the country with Jacquelyn’s soccer team.
“Between Robert’s games on Friday nights and Jacquelyn’s games on the weekends, Robyn is not able to be at any of our football games here. That has probably been the hardest part for her right now.”
After Robert’s graduation from high school next year, Robyn and Jacquelyn will make the move to Clemson in time for the next football season. For now, Hines will continue business as usual in order to ensure that his defensive backs are prepared to meet the challenges of the 1999 season.
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