University of North Texas coach Todd Dodge thought he had found an overqualified replacement to fill Clayton George's role as the team's new WR coach in former Colorado State offensive coordinator Greg Peterson.
As the story goes, Northern Colorado came knocking and offered the former Kansas State passing game coordinator their offensive coordinator job. Peterson took the job, leaving Dodge scrambling to find a replacement.
Dodge ended up hiring long-time Louisiana Tech coach Conroy Hines.
So...Who is Conroy Hines?
As I did with Mike Canales, I hit the Google machine to view coach Hines' resume and find out what Louisiana Tech fans thought of him. Here is his profile from the La Tech website, as well as La Tech fans' perceptions of his strengths and weaknesses.
First, here's his profile.
Although his resume is lighter than Peterson's, there is a lot in it for a UNT fan to pin their hopes on.
Hines was a starting QB at Louisiana Tech in 1988.
He also coached tight ends at La Tech from 1994-1998. UNT played with a TE in situations last year, but it appears the base set will include a TE this year. Hines could handle that if UNT doesn't hire a dedicated TE coach (an unconfirmed rumour floating around).
He coached WRs for two years 1999-2000, and in 1999 La Tech had four WRs catch at least 60 balls in a single season. That's hugely impressive.
In 2001, he was promoted to offensive coordinator and QBs coach. His offense did pretty well his first four years on the job and then crashed miserably in his fifth year, before bouncing back a little in his sixth.
He worked extensively with QB Luke McCown, who has gone one to have more than one cup of coffee in the NFL.
This next link for a thread from a few years ago calling for the dismissal of former La Tech head coach Jack Bicknell Jr. Coach Hines was Bicknell's offensive coordinator. The backstory behind this thread was that fans perceived the program to be poorly run on a strict budget by their athletic director at the time, Jim Oakes. Hines apparently took a double dip PR black eye here. His offense did not perform well and fans feared Hines would be hired as the next head coach in a penny-pinching move.
Here is the thread.
- "...Our offense is not even a shell of what it was eight years ago. We desperately need new blood on our offensive staff. Conroy Hines should be promoted to Assistant AD for football and also taken off the staff. Moving Conroy Hines does two things; it allows another coach to become the offensive coordinator and it also allows Conroy to keep doing the great job he does with off-the-field issues on the team..."
"...You can not continue promoting assistants to Head Coach. Conroy Hines can not be the next Head Football Coach at Louisiana Tech. He has failed at his current job, only Jim Oakes would promote someone like that. Hines became Offensive Coordinator in 2001:
Yards per game: 2001: (424.9), 2002: (417.9), 2003: (431.1), 2004: (380), 2005: (311.8) , 2006: (Through Hawaii game) (336.1)
Points per game: 2001(33.8), 2002: (26.7), 2003: (25.8), 2004: (25.7), 2005: (13.8), 2006: (Through Hawaii game) (19.2)..." - changemaker
It is noteworthy that his offense's numbers for the first four years he was the offensive coordinator were quite good. I had heard that La Tech had some problems with recruiting that lead to an end of the Bicknell run. If there is truth to that analysis, Hines could be quite a solid offensive mind and a very welcome addition to the staff.
This next forum tracks the announced resignation of Hines from the staff. Hines had worked his way up from a grad student to the offensive coordinator under Bicknell, but was demoted to WR coach by Derek Dooley. Hines resigned suddenly last year surprising a lot of La Tech fans.
Click here to view the thread.
- "Probably a good move for the WR's and passing game but tough on other fronts. Conroy really cares about the kids and has worked tirelessly to help them fulfill their academic obligations and stay eligible and on track to graduate (which is why they are really here!!)" - BigDog13
- "I think the problems with our WR's is evidence enough of a needed change.
I wonder how this will effect recruiting?" - SixWings
- "Can somebody please tell me what a wide receiver coach does? Does he teach them to catch? If that's the case we've needed a new one for several years now." - No2001
- "A true Tech guy, he gave alot to this university as a player and a coach. He also played a major role in making sure these players handled the academic side as well." - Tech88
This is a lot more disturbing. On one hand, Hines established quite a reputation among La Tech fans as an academic enforcer.
The fans were probably looking to be charitable and classy in talking about a long time coach who showed a lot of loyalty to La Tech. But they ended up making it sound like Conroy alone got these kids to graduate, which is probably a big stretch.
On the other hand, they are more or less saying Hines was a lousy WR coach under Dooley, which is the position we hired the man to coach. It leads one to wonder if Hines never got over being demoted, or frankly, if he had other baggage that prevented him from having the kind of success he had in his first go-around as the WR coach.
This thread is a newer one, initiated by another Mean Green fan asking La Tech fans for their opinion on the newest member of the Mean Green coaching staff.
Click here to view the thread.
- "many on here didn't like him. i personally think it is difficult to evaluate him as a wr coach. his first try at that position he had an outstanding wr squad. his second attempt, not so much. in between those times, he was offensive coordinator for one of the most prolific (and adaptable) offenses in the nation until his final year at that position. others have criticized him as an oc, but i found him to be good at tayloring the offense to the talent available, and excellent at situational play calling.
most importantly, it is reported that he was a huge factor in holding players accountable academically and keeping them eligible.
others may disagree, but i will definitely miss him." - ArkansasBob
- "He was probably fired by Dooley because he was a poor recruiter. He recruited Arkansas for the last 3 years and never signed a player." - DonW
- "I think, as with any coach, you have those who liked them and those who didn't. Conroy is a very loyal and dependable person. I think his personality and coaching style was probably much different than Dooley's and that Dooley probably kept him on staff as long as he did probably because he had to do so. In hindsight, I think many will have to say that when Conroy was OC, our offense was better than we thought at the time although still fairly predictable. I've heard that he wasn't exactly a strong recruiter. However, once you get the kids on campus, he is very approachable. He's that way for the fans as well. In addition as someone pointed out, if you want your kids to make the grades, Dodge would do well to assign the academic mentoring to Conroy. He'll make sure the kids are getting to class and getting their work done while at the same time establishing good relationships with the academic faculty.
(on his resignation from Tech)... Personally, I believe Conroy's and Dooley's personalities clashed, and to be honest, Conroy was probably relieved." - DirtyDawg
- "He was great at helping our boys maintain academic eligibility and one of the reasons we have the top graduation rate among athletes in the state." - revf
- "That's about it, which is needed at most schools for sure. I was never impressed with his play calling and he couldn't hold the last few WR classes together and in fact lost a number of them that just quit. But his loyalty to TECH was tops." - Tylertechsas
- "And he was great at guiding the players through their classes and he was one of the main reason's those team's had such a HIGH graduation rate...
- Forget what he did on the sidelines, what he did with them in the classroom was his greatest work while on our staff."- DWAYNE FROM MINDEN
- "This is very ironic. A few years ago I tried to get Conroy Hines to sign a WR from McKinney named Johnny Quinn. Conroy wouldn't do it. He said Quinn would never make it in Div 1A college football. So Quinn went to UNT instead of LA Tech, and became UNT's ALL-TIME leading receiver. I kid you not. During Quin's stay at UNT, he was playing in back to back bowl games for UNT while Conroy was sitting at home in Ruston.
Despite this, I've always liked Conroy Hines. Still do. But some of these college coaches don't know near as much about recruiting as they THINK they do. By the way, that INCLUDES some members of our (Dykes') current football staff. I'm already having similar experiences with them. As usual, they think nobody knows anything about football but them. Only problem is, I have to wait a couple of years to prove them wrong. Again.
Best of luck to Conroy and his family."
"...Quinn was drafted by the Buffalo Bills and played for the Green Bay Packers too.
I never did let Conroy live that one down. Johnny Quinn was an INCREDIBLE talent......but Conroy just couldn't see it. Quinn would have been a great fit for LA Tech's wide open passing offense when McCown was the QB, and later." - HOGDAWG
- "Conroy told me that if a player wasn't rated on Rivals, he wasn't worth looking at." - DONW
Again, there is a lot of good and bad here. Coach Hines is certainly painted as a guy with a pretty lousy eye for talent and a total inability to recruit. This quite disturbing since he is being tasked with the Dallas/Fort Worth territory, where frankly, UNT has shockingly underperformed under Dodge.
I think the idea that he lost a number of receivers while not developing a very impressive staff of receivers is disturbing. Time is limited. No winning head coach has the luxury of bleeding good prospects. They need assistants who can figure out how to push the right buttons with the players under their charge. They can't afford guys who are too set in their ways and drive off good prospects because they can't bring themselves to meet players halfway from time to time.
On the other hand, the comments by ArkansasBob certainly fill me with some hope. The team needs someone in the offensive mix to be practical and maximize the talent on hand. Having a good play caller on hand (even if he is a little conservative) could be quite a boon, if Canales's rumoured troubles with play calling from his Arizona days still persist. If those issues do persist, having a guy whispering sound playcalling suggestions in Canales' ear could make Canales a much, much better coach.
(Canales might be Ernie Zampese: a guy who isn't a great coordinator, but is a great offensive mind. If that is the case, he would be smart to delegate some responsibilities in which he may not excel to members of his staff. Or share them with members of his offensive staff. Could Hines be Canales' Norv Turner?)
Also, with as much trouble as UNT has had climbing out of their scholarship hole, having a go-to-guy on staff to help struggling players stay disciplined in making their grades does have a lot of value. It is a lot easier to win at the FBS level with a full load of 85 scholarships.
Finally, I am pleased that by all accounts this is a really good guy. That may not count to many people, but I like the fact that guys like coach Hines and coach Canales are by all accounts stand-up guys. It makes it a lot easier to cheer for good people...and a lot easier to overlook mistakes.