Video: Timber Creek Regional football highlights vs. Lenape High School
See the Chargers in action for coach Robert Hinson.
Coach Robert Hinson has been at the helm of Timber Creek Regional (Erial, N.J.)
for 11 years. During that time, the Chargers have played for seven state sectional championships, including the last six in a row, and have won four of them. They were state champions in: 2011, 2012, 2015 and 2016.
They were 12-0 in 2016. After a 5-5 2010 season, they've had nothing but winning seasons. Coach Hinson shares about his program's success here.
What does your program do differently from others in your league, conference or state that helped you win a state championship?
I'm not sure we do things differently, but we do have things that are done from year to year that have helped us maintain our consistency. We try to have a "hold" of our guys year-round. Of course, we have them during the season and for winter workouts, but the struggle has always been the spring.
In New Jersey, we don't have Spring Ball so we have to find a way to keep them. To address this, my assistant coaches and I coach track. We maintain a large portion of our lifting program while ensuring they're receiving their track and field event coaching. This has gotten us through the spring. In the process, we have done fairly well at major track and field meets, won multiple sectional and state track championships, and have afforded track and field athletes the opportunities to continue their post high school careers.
Other consistent elements of our program include: extensive summer practice schedule (Monday through Thursday throughout summer, no equipment), summer 7-on-7's, one-day camp tours annually and a focus on doing everything for the team.
What do you consider to be the most important aspect of your state championship?
Probably one of the most important elements/aspects of our success is the buy-in. Most coaches have the football knowledge to be successful, but it's not really all about what we know. It's about what we can have our kids learn and execute, and that comes with the buy-in. Kids have to believe in you and be willing to give you all they have.What is one piece of advice that you would give to a coach wanting to win a state championship?
Make your program something special that kids really want to be a part of. Recently, I had a kid in college call and tell me he was quitting his team. I asked him why he was quitting, and he said "Coach, I realized that I really don't love football. I just loved being a part of our program."Do you incorporate character development program within your program?
There's an organization in the area called A Few Good Men. It's attached to the Perfecting Church in the area. They use the NFL's character development curriculum and meet with the players once a month with pizza and a lesson. Also, they help to kick off the season with their area launch barbecue where they host all of the schools that participate in the program. What is the No. 1 obstacle you face in building a championship-caliber football program in your community?
We generally have the support of our community. The area of concern we face at times is getting our parents involved in booster club activities, fundraising efforts and volunteerism in the program. Our parents love their kids and ensure they have what they need to be in good standing with the team, but we can always use more help when it comes to the volunteer piece of the puzzle.Who do you consider to be your main mentor in this profession and what about that coach do you try to emulate in your program?
I have several. David "Duck" Riley is one of my main mentors. As a coach, athletic director and now my boss at the Glazier Clinics, he has always put kids first and gone out of his way to help kids, whether or not they were in his program. Another one is Darrell Wilson. He gave me my first coaching job, and has remained a source of knowledge, wisdom, and advice even though he was a full-time BCS-level coach. My final mentor would be my cousin Reggie Lawrence. We are only one year apart in age, but he has always been a head coach, going all the way back to when he was the only minor who was a head coach in our summer baseball league as kids. As a football coach, he was very successful and always had the ability to have his players buy-in.Chris Fore is a veteran Head Football Coach and Athletic Director from Southern California. He consults coaches and programs nationwide through his business Eight Laces Consulting.