The Duncan Banner

January 3, 2011

Remembering his Oklahoma roots

Ben Whitehead
The Duncan Banner

LAWRENCE, Kan. — This is part two of a two-part series on Barry Hinson, Director of Basketball Operations at Kansas.

“When you have a job, it’s a privilege, not a right,” Director of Basketball Operations at Kansas Barry Hinson said. “I go to work every day, but I have fun and I also recognize where I am and I appreciate that.”

Hinson’s Oklahoma roots run deep. He grew up in Marlow, participated in the Marlow FFA and played his basketball at Oklahoma State in the famed Gallagher-Iba Arena.

Now he’s in Kansas and doing what he loves most: teaching basketball and life lessons to all who come through the Jayhawk program.

“Oklahoma’s my home,” Hinson said. “I love coming back home and seeing all my friends and family.”

Those same life lessons Hinson teaches today are the ones he learned during his time in Marlow. He tells people all the time that he grew up in small-town Oklahoma, but it’s what got him to where he is today.

“I was prepared for life in southwest Oklahoma. The life lessons I learned, the things I teach today to players going to the NBA, those values I learned each and every day in Marlow,” he said. “The people in Stephens County are people who always have and always will be very grounded. They’ll smile and have a conversation with you. If someone’s in trouble, everybody bonds together and tries to help them. That’s what makes going back there so special.”

Hinson still remembers his FFA teacher, Earnest Muncrief, and calls him the “most influential person in my life other than my parents.”

“I can probably still go judge cattle and give reasoning for why I judged them that way,” said Hinson. “I could tell you what different grasses are, how to deliver a hog, shave a lamb.”

When Hinson does come back to Marlow, he visits his favorite local venues.

“I go to all the local restaurants like Wright’s Steakhouse and even Braum’s. We don’t have a Braum’s here,” said Hinson. “It feels like heaven when I go home.”

Another one of Hinson’s favorite things to do is mingle with the locals.

“The great thing about coming to Stephens County, when  I go to [The Territory Golf and Country Club] with Rick [Braught], not one person recognizes me,” he said. “They won’t bring up basketball and if they do, they know me from Marlow. But they bring up cow and oil prices. That’s a welcome conversation for me.”

His goal of becoming a head coach again is still out there. Hinson loves KU and being a part of the history and tradition with the program, but still has the urge to take over a program of his own and mold it into a respectable power.

“I’ve always said this: I don’t care where you go to school or what community you learn from,” Hinson explained. “If you want to be successful in life, you can be successful. Period. You’re not limited in your education. We had one stoplight in Marlow and here I am.”

— Ben Whitehead is the sports editor for The Duncan Banner. He can be reached at 255-5354, Ext. 165, or via e-mail at