Matt Hinds is trading in his spot on the Huntington North boys basketball coaching staff to take over as the new head coach of the school’s girls program. Hinds will replace Heidi Lawson on the sideline next season and hopes to return the Huntington North program to prominence.
His time on the sideline this past season with the boys’ Sectional championship team and a massive show of support from the community gives him hope for what the future could be like for the girls program.
“That was an amazing experience. The community involvement, people were coming out of the woodwork. It is kind of what you hope it would be like. What a great environment, great culture to be a part of,” Hinds said.
“I really want the girls program to experience that. They have a great history in years past and I want to be a part of that and hopefully rebuilding to get that back or close to what it once was.”
The Viking program is a two time state champion and 18 time Sectional champion, but hasn’t cashed in on a postseason title in 13 years.
Hinds has been at Huntington North since 2014, so some aspects won’t be a change for him at all.
“I immediately felt so comfortable with the school,” Hinds said. “Everyone is really supportive, students are great and I really feel like the leadership of the school in general is a good place to be.”
Hinds led the Eastbrook girls program from 2005 through 2008 after coming to Eastbrook in 2001 and serving as the boys junior varsity coach. While coaching the Eastbrook girls, he never had a losing season, culminating with a Sectional title in his final season. He then took over the boys program at the school from 2009 through 2012, but was never able to match his success with the girls. Hinds went 81-93 in his eight seasons at Eastbrook with a 63-26 mark coaching girls basketball.
“When I was at Eastbrook, I really hadn’t given coaching girls basketball a thought,” Hinds said. “They approached me and asked me if I had an interest in it. At that time, you are young and wanting to run your own program; I just thought this may be good. I can stay at the school and we had some good talented kids come through there.”
After he left coaching at Eastbrook, Hinds spent one year as a boys junior varsity coach at Marion before spending one season as the women’s assistant at Indiana Wesleyan. He then became part of the Huntington North community under the recruitment of then boys head coach Rob Irwin. After Irwin’s last season being Hinds’ first, the new girls head coach has spent four seasons on Craig Teagle’s bench while continuing to teach health classes at Huntington North.
“It has kind of just worked out,” Hinds added of going back and forth coaching girls and boys. “It is not something I set out to do. This job at Huntington North with the girls program is not something I expected, I had no intentions on doing when I came here. The doors have opened and if its a good opportunity, I just love coaching basketball and I love coaching kids.”
Former coach Lawson had spent five years at the helm for Huntington North and the Vikings are coming off back to back losing seasons. Huntington North has also won just two Sectional games in the last 10 seasons and have not won a Sectional title since the 2005-06 season when they captured the last of three straight postseason titles.
The Vikings return all but two major contributors next season, but one of those is Outside the Huddle All-Area player Madalyn Robrock, who scored nearly half of the team’s points this past season. Junior to be Reece Colclesser (5.5 points per game) and senior to be Meg McDonald (4.9 points per game) will be two of the top returners next season.
“We are going to be young, but I think it will be a good fit,” Hinds said, noting that his philosophy on coaching moving forward comes from many people he had worked with specifically Steve Brooks at Indiana Wesleyan and Teagle.
“Coach Teagle’s attention to detail is so good with the fundamental skills and that is one of the things that we are really going to hit hard.”