Southern Illinois University men’s basketball head coach Barry Hinson said he knew when the final buzzer went off in the Salukis’ Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) Tournament quarterfinal matchup against University of Northern Iowa March 8, he knew it would be his last game at the helm.
Last season, Hinson said he made a pact with the Southern Illinois chancellor that if the team didn’t make the NCAA Tournament or the National Invitation Tournament, he’d step down from his position as head coach.
In an emotional press conference after Southern Illinois’ season-ending loss in the Arch Madness quarterfinals, Hinson announced he wouldn’t return to lead the Salukis next season.
“I want to thank you for giving me 16 wonderful years in this conference, and I’ll do anything I can do to help it in the future,” Hinson said. “But it’s time. It’s time for me to step away.”
The Salukis finished 17-15 overall and 10-8 in conference play. They were picked to finish third in the MVC preseason poll and won seven of their last 10 games to take the No. 3 seed at Arch Madness.
With the defeat came the offseason — and, for Hinson, the end of the road.
“I’ve had the most enjoyable year, believe it or not, being around these young men and being around my current athletic director Jerry Kill,” Hinson said. “I couldn’t be more excited right now for Saluki athletics than what I am because I know where it’s headed. I know who’s running the ship now.”
Hinson has been a basketball coach for 38 years — 16 of which were in the MVC. He started at Missouri State University in 1999 when it was known as Southwest Missouri State University, and continued there for nine years. After taking a four-year reprieve from coaching, he returned as head coach of Southern Illinois in 2012.
“If you quote me on one thing, I’d like for you to quote me on this,” Hinson said “I am so sorry. I am so sorry that we couldn’t get back to a tournament. It’s haunted me. It’s haunted me my entire life. But I’m a man of faith, and my dad taught me a long time ago, I know not what my future holds, but I know [God] holds my future.”