Rob Hinson is coming home.
Camden High School named the 1989 graduate its newest football coach at Tuesday night’s Board of Education meeting. Hinson replaces Dwayne Savage, who took the Camden Catholic job on Feb. 10.
“I’m super, super honored and blessed this opportunity even came about,” Hinson said.
Hinson helped build Timber Creek into a South Jersey powerhouse from 2006-2019, leading the Chargers to a 114-43 record, 7 conference titles, 7 sectional finals and 4 South Jersey championships, and he spent the past two years as a player personnel analyst at Rutgers.
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However, Camden holds a special place in his heart.
Hinson played cornerback for the Panthers in the 1980’s, but his family’s history with the program runs much deeper than that.
His uncle Andy Hinson coached the team in the 1970’s and his cousin Reggie Lawrence led Camden in the 1990’s.
“It’s something that my family doesn’t take lightly and I don’t take lightly,” he said of getting the head coaching job.
The Panthers went 71-31 under Savage over the past decade and reached three sectional finals. However, despite enormous success over the years, the team’s only South Jersey title came in 1976.
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“When you win a championship, everything has to fall into place,” Hinson said. “Sometimes just being a favorite or having the best team, you can have a break go the other way and you not win. Winning is tough man, really, really tough. They got some tough breaks over the years. They had chances to win and got really close to winning it, and sometimes the ball dropped a way they didn’t need it to drop. Hopefully we get things aligned and hopefully we get it done.”
Hinson understands there’s enormous expectations due to his success at Timber Creek, but he stressed it’s not that simple.
“It’s two different programs, two different sets of circumstances, two different time periods,” he said. “Coaching is so good in South Jersey, the players are getting so much better with offseason training. It’s a different time. It’s only been two years since I coached, but the game has grown in South Jersey and we still got the best coaches around. It’s going to be a lot of pressure to get it done. A lot of folks, a lot of alumni are reaching out excited about it, but it’s a challenge my staff and I’m looking forward to.”
Hinson believes he’s become a better coach having spent the past two seasons at Rutgers learning under Greg Schiano.
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“Culture is everything,” Hinson said. “You can’t get tired imposing culture on a program and I learned that from coach. You really have to be consistent and never give up trying to build your culture and your program. … Learning under coach Schiano really took my football knowledge to another level.”
Hinson hopes to take that knowledge and lift Camden to new heights in what he simply called a “tremendous” opportunity.
“Not to sound cliché, but it truly his home,” he said. “… Even though the building isn’t physically the same, walking the halls of Camden High I get the same feeling I had when I was there. There’s a lot of history in the building, a lot of pictures and nostalgia in the building and I was part of all that. Being able to come home now, it truly is home.”
Josh Friedman has produced award-winning South Jersey sports coverage for the Courier Post, The Daily Journal and the Burlington County Times for more than a decade. If you have or know of an interesting story to tell, reach out on Twitter at @JFriedman57 or via email at [email protected] You can also contact him at 856-486-2431. Help support local journalism with a subscription.