Southern Illinois coach Barry Hinson won Missouri Valley Conference Coach of the Year honors for the first time in his 13 years in the conference.
“I’ve had a 13-year love affair with this conference,” Hinson told a luncheon crowd where the announcement was made. “The first person to win this award was Mr. (Henry) Iba (of Oklahoma A&M) and I worked for Mr. Iba.
“That makes it extremely special.”
Hinson earned 84 total points and 17 of 45 first-place votes. Wichita State’s Gregg Marshall, a three-time winner, earned more first-place votes (18) but fewer second-place votes (13 to 10) and had 81 total points.
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Evansville’s Marty Simmons was third with 48 points.
Hinson coached nine years at Missouri State, then after a stint at Kansas’ director of basketball operations, became SIU’s coach in 2012. This season, SIU was picked to finish ninth in a preseason poll but is 22-9 and finished in a fourth-place Valley tie (11-7) with Northern Iowa. The Salukis went 12-21 last season.
Hinson attended Oklahoma State, where he said he worked as a student janitor. He would rush through his cleaning duties to hang out in the basketball office and listen to Iba and others.
“It just made my college career,” he said.
Hinson said he first met Iba as a junior in high school when he visited his house for a basketball chat. He brought a notebook, which Iba told him to put away.
“He said, ‘Young man, I’m going to talk and you’re going to listen,’ ” Hinson said. “He said, ‘You pups, all you’re worried about is how to put that orange thing in the hole. The first thing you’ve got to figure out is how to keep that orange thing out of the hole.’ I’ll never forget that as a long as I live.”
Marshall had been trying to join former Drake coach Maury John with the most honors in Valley history. Marshall won as the MVC champion in 2012 and 2014. He won as the MVC’s second-place team in 2013. John won the award in 1964, 1968 and 1970. He shared the honor with Tulsa’s Ken Hayes in 1969.
Wessel honored — WSU senior Evan Wessel earned a spot on the MVC Scholar-Athlete team.
Wessel has a 3.31 grade-point average in managament. He made the second team the previous two seasons.