Southern Illinois University Carbondale men’s basketball team head coach Barry Hinson, standing, at right, was a guest speaker at an assembly held last week at Anna-Jonesboro Community High School. At the time the picture was taken, Hinson had asked members of the school’s marching band and cheer squad to stand, as well as students who attended A-J’s football game against Du Quoin on Friday night, Oct. 6.

SIU men's basketball coach delivers homework challenge

Hinson guest speaker at A-JCHS assembly

Southern Illinois University Carbondale men’s basketball team head coach Barry Hinson shared a pep talk, some inspirational advice, a few thoughts about modern communication and even assigned some homework during a visit last week at Anna-Jonesboro Community High School.

Hinson was the guest speaker at a school assembly which was held Thursday morning, Oct. 12, in the auditorium at the Union County school. The event was coordinated by a faculty assembly committee at A-JCHS.

Before delivering his presentation, Hinson said he would cover a wide range of topics – and he delivered.

“I went to a high school just like this,” Hinson said as he opened his talk.

Hinson shared that he had attended the A-JCHS Wildcats’ football game against visiting Du Quoin on Friday night, Oct. 6. The Wildcats won the game.  

Hinson had several members of the football team stand for recognition as he talked about the game. He then asked members of the A-JCHS band and cheer squad to stand, as well as students who had attended the game.

“The band was outstanding,” Hinson said. “What I saw Friday night was a great high school,” he added.

Hinson then turned his attention to today’s young people, the ubiquitous use of cell phones, the need for people to communicate in a personal, eye-to-eye way and bullying.

He urged the young people in the audience to take back the country, which he said adults have “messed up.” When Hinson declared that the United States was “the greatest country in the world,” the comment was met with applause.

The SIU coach then borrowed a cell phone from a member of the audience. He held up the phone and stated: “This is a problem. This is the fall of the Roman Empire.”

People today don’t know how to to carry on to look people in the eye – all tied to cell phones.

He urged students to be on the watch for situations which may involve bullying. At one point, he had all of the members of the A-JCHS senior class stand, raise their hands and pledge to work together to end bullying.

“Treat everybody like they are the most important person in the world,” Hinson said.

The talk closed with a homework assignment for students – an assignment which came in the form of a three-part challenge.

•”Work your butt off...every day,” Hinson told the students. “You’ve got to put in hard.”

•”Pay attention.” He encouraged the students to be aware of the world around them, to watch out for their family, friends and those who may need a kind word or helping hand.

•”Fall in love.” Hinson said this challenge was his favorite. He wasn’t talking about romantic love. 

“Fall in love...with what you want to do,” he said. Even after 36 years of coaching and teaching, “I love my job,” Hinson shared. “I love being here today and talking with you.”

The Saluki  coach neared the end of his talk with some positive words of encouragement for the Union County school.

“I’m excited for this school. Anna-Jonesboro High School has got it going on,” he declared. His words were met with a final round of applause from those at the assembly.

Hinson also praised the work done by the teachers at A-JCHS. He said that teachers realize that their greatest investment was the young people, the students, who were in the audience.

In one last word of encouragement, Hinson wished the  A-JCHS football team success – “Go win a state championship.” The football team is headed to the state playoffs.


The Gazette-Democrat

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