Oh, my, how I'm going to miss covering Barry Hinson.
The nation got a heaping helping of Barry at his best — although a few observers might call it his worst — in his postgame rant following Southern Illinois' loss Tuesday night to Murray State.
Among other things, Hinson called his players “uncoachable” and a “bunch of mama's boys” and then added that disciplining them is like housebreaking puppies, complete with a swat of rolled-up paper. Toss in Hinson saying his wife shot-fakes better than his big men, and you had a video package tied up with a bow for ESPN and YouTube.
At a press conference Wednesday afternoon, Hinson said he received a text message from his boss, Southern Illinois Athletic Director Mario Moccia, at 6 a.m. Wednesday.
“It said, 'Last night's presser went viral, I'll handle it,' '' Hinson said. “I thought Mario was going to have to go to the hospital and get antibiotics. I didn't know what 'viral' and 'I'll handle it' meant.
“He said, 'I'll send you the clip.' I got the clip, we listened and I asked (my wife) what do you think? She said, 'You owe an apology to Marcus. The other stuff, you were just being you and I don't have a problem with that.' ”
Hinson did apologize to guard Marcus Fillyaw, whom Hinson called “absolutely awful” after the guard went scoreless with three fouls, two turnovers and one assist in 14 minutes of the 73-65 loss. Hinson also apologized to his team for singling a player out for criticism.
“From that point on, anything I said in that press conference, I stand by,'' Hinson said. “I believe every word I said. If that ruffles your feathers or ruffles someone else's, then you're going to have to deal with it.
“I'm the head coach of this 2-8 team. I take full responsibility for that. I'm just like everybody else — I'm frustrated. I don't like losing. I don't accept mediocre. I don't accept lukewarm. I don't accept average. I demand excellence out of everyone, including myself.''
Hinson's wife, Angie, probably put it best when she said Tuesday's press-room performance was just Barry being Barry. Those of us who have covered him since he became Missouri State's coach in 1999 know that Hinson wears his emotions on his sleeve.
An Oklahoma native, Hinson can shovel the cornpone prose with the best of them. He's also as candid as they come, whether it's discussing his team or defending the Missouri Valley against its critics.
Hinson has provided some of the most entertaining quotes I've had the pleasure of chronicling in more than four decades in this business. A complete listing of his comments would require more space than this — and maybe any — newspaper could devote to one subject.
So we'll just pass along some of Barry's best since he went to Southern Illinois 20 months ago.
» On his team's performance in last season's exhibition game: “We played against St. Valley Nursing Home and we got a victory, which we were exceptionally happy about. Other than a guy that was 94 years old that took us left on the baseline a couple of times, I thought our guys were pretty good.''
» On an upcoming visit to Omaha last season to play Creighton: “I'm just trying to figure out some type of ailment I can get. I've already informed my staff that I'm really starting to feel sick, and I may be in the hospital by the time we get to that game.''
» On having to sort through academic and other problems he inherited from the previous staff: “It's the most drama I've had in the collection of 32 years combined. You can take all 31 years I've coached prior to this, and we couldn't even get close to what's happened last year.”
» On a game against Evansville: “It's not a good matchup for us. We do not play well against cerebral teams. I'm sure you've noticed by now we're not a real cerebral team.”
» On losing to Creighton by 14 points a couple of weeks after the Bluejays had put a 30-point spanking on his team: “We don't have a lot of talent, but we understand our deficiencies. There are going to be a lot of fans that walk out of here that don't know the difference, but those who do, they saw my peckerwoods and goobers out there playing their tails off.”
» On his game plan for that game: “We knew that beer was on sale for 99 cents to start the game. I told the guys, 'Make it awful to make sure they drink a ton of beer so that they get so drunk they can't cheer in the second half. It worked except for one guy behind my bench. He was on my butt the entire night.”
Greg McDermott has coached against Hinson while at Northern Iowa and Creighton. After beating Hinson's team in Carbondale last January, McDermott put in an unsolicited plug for the Salukis coach.
McDermott told reporters that when his wife, Theresa, was diagnosed with breast cancer, she received flowers or a card from Hinson every 10 days for the entire basketball season.
“I hope you understand what you have in Barry Hinson,'' McDermott said. “He's one heck of a basketball coach, but his ability to coach basketball doesn't hold a candle to his integrity, what he stands for and what he's all about.”
Told of McDermott's comments, Hinson, who is about 5-foot-8, replied with a straight face, “Don't tell Greg, but she likes short guys.”
After Wednesday's practice, I asked McDermott if he had seen the video of Hinson's Tuesday press conference. He said he had.
“He's very passionate about what he does,” McDermott said. “The young guys that play for him, if they'll listen to him, they'll be better because of it.
“He's going to tell you what's on his mind. He wants to turn that program around, and he wants to get kids to believe in a level of commitment and a level of performance they don't even understand themselves.”
Hinson's candor might get him in hot water on occasion, but many of us find it refreshing in the homogenized and pasteurized times in which we live. We abhor coachspeak, but some bristle when a coach steps outside the box with his comments.
Hinson might have crossed a line when he singled out an individual for criticism, but at least one person doesn't think so. Fillyaw also spoke at Wednesday's press conference.
“It wasn't so much him calling me out personally,'' Fillyaw said. “I was just upset with my performance. His statement about me was accurate. It was just embarrassing that the whole world knows.''
The Salukis practiced Wednesday morning. It was a good workout, Fillyaw said.
“I think he has our attention now more than he did before,'' he said. “I am taking it personally, and I hope my teammates do, too. We need to make a change is this program, because it is not headed in the right direction.''
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>> Video: See Barry Hinson's rant: