Monarch Insider No. 6- Joel Hines Dir. of Basketball Operations
Oct. 12, 2010
Director of basketball operations Joel Hines is ODU basketball's Mr. Everything
Brendan O'Hallarn Monarch Basketball Insider
If it's an ODU basketball event, you can find him there - whether it's a game or practice, fund-raiser, charity event or public appearance.
He doesn't take the court, but Joel Hines, ODU men's director of basketball operations, is a key cog in the smooth-flowing Monarch machine.
But if you don't follow Twitter regularly, you might not even know who he is. And that's just how he likes it.
"It's a unique experience, because during the season I'm doing logistics for everything, on the court and off the court," Hines said.
"When you're preparing for something like Coaches Versus Cancer (the breakfast last month at the Ted Constant Center) and you've never done it before, to see it occur the way it did and be successful, that's where I get my satisfaction.
"Nobody sees what goes on behind the scenes. It's not glamorous, but I don't mind it. You're working with a vast majority of people, whether it's the foundations, or through the athletic departments. It's not like I'm just subjected to the basketball office. I deal with people across campus and I enjoy it."
When he came down from the DC area to Old Dominion to enroll in sport management, Hines had his eye on the basketball team. He got an internship at the Constant Center, working in an audio-visual role, and in the office. "But one day I said to myself, `If I really want to do what I want to do in life, I've got to be down there'" on the court, Hines said.
Through two of his sport management instructors, Senior Associate Athletic Director Debbie White and former ODU President James Koch, Hines found a way to get into the men's basketball office. "I didn't want to do a manager's role, because I wanted to learn infrastructure. I wanted to be around the coaches," he said.
So Hines started doing whatever was asked, be it mailouts to recruits or donors, or helping with ODU basketball summer camps.
By the time the next season rolled around, the coaches started to give him more responsibility, things like the regular exchange of game film between college teams, to scout upcoming opponents. Hines' position didn't exist then, so his responsibilities grew quickly.
Though he stopped playing organized hoops in 9th grade, Hines has had a life-long obsession with roundball. "I regret having this attitude that I wasn't going pro, so why play. But I still loved the game. I wanted to be around the game. I knew I wanted to work in sport, I just didn't know what arena. But I wanted to do something with basketball."
He's coached high school teams, and done an internship with the Charlotte Bobcats of the NBA. Not bad for a guy who just turned 27 on October 12.
"Considering my background, that I didn't play, I've been lucky. I'm a young guy who's been around a little bit. I don't have the experience that most have, but I say this all the time: `So many people get caught up in numbers. It's not always about quantity, sometimes it's about quality.' I've been around different things, successful programs," Hines said.
Hines said he's also been very fortunate to be around quality basketball minds, and quality people like the ODU coaches, to learn as much as he can. "Sharing an office with (former) Coach (John) Richardson and now Coach Lonnie Blow, I'm just learning from guys, training and getting experience," he said.
And as the youngest member of the coaching staff by far, Hines is in a somewhat unique position of providing leadership to players only a few years younger.
"You just have to go into that situation knowing that. There are times where you can laugh with the players, but there are also times when you have to go to work.
But I don't go into a situation, especially at my age, with a dictatorial attitude. Do this, do this, show I'm in charge. There's something to be said for having genial relations with people, but also getting their respect," he said.
Hines said sometimes his age is a benefit. "It works both ways, because I've established a rapport with them, because I understand their generation. Being able to relate to them also earns their respect."
One way Hines is firmly rooted in the younger generation is in how he has embraced Twitter as a platform for his thoughts on everyday life, far beyond basketball. "People that are not a part of twitter don't understand twitter. It's more than just what you're doing. It's a sounding board," he said.
"It's convenient, I'm interested in it, you learn things. I get late-breaking news faster on Twitter than on any other medium. And I do enjoy the fact that I can just share my thoughts."
You won't find Joel taking to Twitter to air grievances, however, as some people have done with the social media site.
"You don't ever want to do anything that stains the reputation of ODU basketball, stains the reputation of yourself. I'm invested in Old Dominion University. I'm an alum." One that's proud to do whatever he can to help ODU basketball be successful.
Brendan O'Hallarn, an employee in public relations at Old Dominion University, writes Monarch Basketball Insider. To see other stories, please see the Monarch Insider website, at http://www.odusports.com/ot/monarch-insider.html. If you would like to share your thoughts about ODU basketball, or have a story you'd like to see Brendan write, contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.