Tim Hinton, MonStar

By DJ Byrnes on January 19, 2012 at 3:55p
if you check these things, you definitely check enough 11W enough to warrant a donation to the "Respect the Basement Drive" gold coin raiser thing ---> Tim Hinton, builder of things.

Outside of its heroin-flooded streets and being the Popcorn Capital of the World, Marion, Ohio, isn't known for much. Back in the 1940's, due to the copious amounts of railroads juxtaposed within Marion's city limits, the City of Kings had allegedly drawn the ire of Adolph Hitler to the point it was on some secret "To Be Bombed" list of the Nazis if they were ever bring their war effort to American soil.

Football in this city hasn't been much either. Sure, there's Marion Pleasant, the perennial powerhouse, but I don't consider them to be part of Marion. Those people have their affluent subdivision south of the City of Kings, and that's where their illegal recruiting tactics and Division-XII football titles gather dust. As far as I'm concerned, it's the Marion Harding Presidents (probably the coolest names in all of athletics) who carry the honor of Marion, Ohio, onto the gridiron. 

Marion Harding's football team is 427-471-34 in its lifetime. Something called MaxPreps.com ranks it as the 400th best program in the state of Ohio. That's probably generous. The 2011 Presidents went 3-7, so it doesn't look like Harding's record will gets its head above .500 anytime soon. That probably shouldn't surprise anybody, seeing as Marion's — and its football team's — best days are behind it. 

While Tim Hinton didn't have anything to do with Marion's rise as a Midwestern industrial titan in the middle of the last century, he had everything to do with the best ten years in Marion Harding football history. The Presidents won 78 games under the leadership of Hinton from 1993 to 2003. For perspective, the eight coaches preceding him, going all the way back to the 1964 season, combined for 88 victories. He is, without a shadow of a doubt, the winningest football coach in Marion Harding history.

By a stroke of fortune, I happened to find myself in Marion, Ohio right as Hinton ascended to power. (That stroke? The Rodney King riots! Hooray, America!) I played soccer in Los Angeles and had never been introduced to football. All that changed in 1993, when I went to watch the local high school team play for the first time. The Prexies were NFL players in my eyes. Orlando Rogers, a Harding legend, was probably the first person I ever looked up to due to his ability to run really fast with a ball of leather. After getting the two-sport star's autograph in 1993, I didn't understand why my dad told me, "That guy is trouble." What? He was good at football! What else was there in life? 

Sadly, my dad ended up being a bit of a soothsayer regarding Mr. Rogers. That's the thing about Marion, the cycle of ignorance and poverty has been unbreakable since American's manufacturing prowess waned, as Marion continued its slide into heroin den it has become. Marionaires don't support the financing of the school, which by extension, means they don't support the future of the town. That makes it a tough place to build a program.


If Tim Hinton were able to cobble together .500 squads, the people of Marion would have been satisfied. Tim Hinton, however, is not one to accept .500 results. Over the course of Tim's 10-year reign, the Amanda-Clearcreek native won 66% of the games he coached. Harding won four Ohio Heartland Conference titles, the only conference championships Harding won during the league's 16 year history. Tim was influential in sending his players to places like Ohio State, Cincinnati, Michigan State, Columbia and Maryland. He also spear-headed the renovation of the school's fitness facilities.

Lest you think he was only a wizard during the regular season, Hinton led the Presidents to glory in the post-season as well. While he was never able to capture the ultimate prize — Harding has never won an OHSAA football title — he did commandeer the greatest victory in Marion football history.

In 2000, two years after a Mike Doss-led and eventual state champion Canton McKinley outlasted the Prexies 14-7 in Mansfield, the Presidents were back in the play-offs... something which had begun to be expected by Presidents fans under Hinton.

(Quick aside: The best football in the history of Marion County was the 1998 Marion Harding High School Team. I'll take that to my grave too.)

After a disappointing regular season loss to eventual Ohio Heartland Champions, the Mansfield Senior Tygers, the Presidents were to face the fellow 8-2 Massillon Tigers in the first round of the playoffs. To make matters worse, the game would be played on Massillon's home turf. 

Massillon was the legendary football factory, where baby boys were given toy footballs when they were birthed at the local hospital. It was said Massillon's high school stadium was worth more than Marion's non-narcotic GDP. Justin Zwick, Massillion's All-State Quarterback and four star recruit, was going to throw for 600 yards. Harding was simply the podunk push-over that stood in the way of Massillon's inevitable march to their 170th state football championship. (At least, that's how Massillon football fans told it.)

Tim Hinton and Harding were simply happy to have the honor of playing in such a cathedral of football. I was in 8th grade at the time and I was at the game. I remember thinking at half-time, "Holy hell, Harding is still in this game!" For four quarters, Tim Hinton's team laid it all on the line against a team that was clearly better than them. They fought, they clawed and just when they were on the cusp of a legendary upset... Justin Zwick ripped the glory away with a 50 yard, game-winning touchdown run with seconds remaining in the fourth quarter.

Or so I — like everybody else in that stadium — thought.

The run ended up being negated on (upon further review) a clear-as-day holding call. The magnitude of the upset didn't hit me until Harding safety Adam Huddle batted Justin Zwick's Hail Mary pass into the President's five yard-line. It took Massillon a bit longer, because the first bottles didn't start being thrown from the stands until about thirty seconds after that. It was a victory that sent shock-waves through the tournament. 

Marion Harding won a state title on that day, as far as I'm concerned. The revenge-laced victory that occurred against Mansfield Senior a week later in Dublin was just icing on the cake. Sure, Harding succumbed to Massillon Perry two weeks after upsetting their big brother; but the damage had already been done. Tim Hinton had taken Marion Harding football to its peak.

Hinton's Presidents would go on to win the OHC in 2001, and Justin Zwick and Massillon would repay them in kind for the previous year's loss to the tune of a 31-0 beatdown. In 2003, Dublin Coffman's quarterback, Jack Rafferty, gutted Harding for 298 yards rushing and four touchdowns in a 31-22 victory over the Presidents. After that year, Tim Hinton moved on to take an assistant coaching job with the University of Cincinnati. In something non-coincidental, Marion Harding football quickly fell off a cliff after Hinton's departure.

Tim Hinton went from Cincinnati to Notre Dame, back to Ohio State. While Urban's choices for assistants have been young, Hinton is easily the oldest member of the coaching staff. That too, is uncoincidental. Hinton has always been a friend to Meyer, and Meyer has offered him coaching jobs wherever he's gone. Hinton is an energetic guy and it doesn't take much around him to realize why Urban Meyer might want the guy around his team. After Meyer's 2008 staff coaching staff got pilfered, Urban has mentioned he had a hard time trusting his new assistants. 

I am certainly biased in this belief, but I don't think Meyer will have that problem with Tim Hinton, because Hinton is a proven commodity. 


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Maestro's picture

Someone tell Amanda Marie Sparks that you don't smile for a mugshot.

vacuuming sucks

Buckeye Chuck's picture

Outside of its heroin flooded streets and being the Popcorn Capital of the World, Marion, Ohio, isn't known for much.

I disagree. It's not every city that can lay claim to being the hometown of the worst president in American history! (Yes, I know this is a "no politics" site, but Harding has been dead for 89 years, and I don't think this is a controversial opinion.)

Nice story. It's good to see someone who has done that kind of work in a very tough environment get recognized to the point where he now has pretty much a dream job.

The most "loud mouth, disrespect" poster on 11W.

William's picture

Wrong. Harding led the Return to Normalcy movement which spearheaded one of the most successful periods in American history especially economically. Also he did a pretty damn good job with that Washington Naval Conference..

jvd253's picture

I would love to debate you, sir, on the accomplishments of W. Gamaliel Harding, but I will abide by the apolitical directive.  I will, however, tip my hat to your arcane historical references.

Best regards,


"A guy from Ohio can make it in life if he works hard enough." - Wayne Woodrow Hayes

SirChadlyOC's picture

I was at the victory against Massillon, and IIRC, Harding had a successful onside kick and a converted fake punt in that victory over Massillon.

dmurder's picture

Pleasant was in my conference in highschool that was the MOAC. Which is getting 4 new teams!

Pleasant was always stilling recruits that is one shady school.

"We have always had the best damn band in the land, now we have the best damn team in the land"- Jim Tressel 1-03-03

Bucknut-in-the-South's picture

Pleasant is the Alabama of Central Ohio football, and always has been.  Back in my football-playing days at dear old North Union, we were in a different conference from MP (one that included Marion Catholic, our bitterest rivals, also an SEC clone in retrograde), but we scrimmaged them annually.  Back then, we had a consistently good team, modelled closely after WWH's Buckeye teams, as our coach was a teammate of his at Denison.  Every year, though, MP, with their shiny new uniforms which made us feel like refugees from an Our Gang movie, would come over and hand us our asses.  There were only two divisions then, and no playoffs, so all of Pleasant's lucre, in addition to being filthy, was mythical.  It was always hard for me to decide whom I hated more - Pleasant, Elgin (the Comets?!?!  really?!?), or Marion Catholic (the Irish, of course).  My poor dad worked at the BF Goodrich plant just southwest of the City of Kings, and he took a lot of crap from his Spartan buddies.  However, we managed a legendary beatdown of Marion Catholic my senior year, which gave him an opportunity to pay some trolling forward.  Ah, the good old days!

Indy_Buck87's picture

DJ. Always appreciate your Marion stories. I do not post on here much but visit the site daily. I am from Marion (Live in Indianapolis now) and graduated in 1988 from Harding high (4 year varsity letter winner in track and 2 year starter in football).  My senior year we finished 6-4 and that was first winning season since 1972 for Harding.  However, that team was way better than the record suggested. Our SR QB quit the team before summer camp and we had a 5’2 Soph midget out there fumbling and bumbling around the whole year (think Bauserman but way worse and shorter).  We did have two 1000 yard rushers  and our defense had 9 guys play college ball on it, myself included, and the team still holds many of the season team defensive records. 

Anyway, one Saturday morning after a hard night of partying at the OK café in the 1990s, I rolled by Harding and noticed a new weight room facility where the practice field used to be. I saw someone there, parked and got out the car to see if I could check it out.  That person was Tim Hinton.  I told him I played ball here in the late 80’s and he knew all about the 88 team, knew of me, started naming players names and everything. He took me on a tour of the place.  I came away very impressed with him. He was a great hire for OSU and will be a great coach for the buckeyes. GO BUCKS!!

I know of only two things that are infinite, space and human stupidity.....and I'm not sure about space". Albert Einstein.

+1 HS
jasonskaggs's picture

I played for Harding in Tim Hinton's first 3 years at the school and played on his 1st conference title team.  What Tim Hinton did for not only the football team and school, but most importantly the city was amazing.  He had the entire community buzzing.  He is a great man and coach.  Ohio State is luck to have him.

Mr. Slick's picture

Proud member of the illegal recruiters and DXII sports here. Was there a few years ago when Coach Hinton spoke to our basketball team before a practice for no more than 5 minutes and I was as motivated as I've ever been in my life. Excited to have him on the bucks coaching staff!

Lincoln's picture

Urban Meyer will always regret this decision. Chris Kubbs was the clear choice for this job.

Mr. Slick's picture


Plus he could make the football team even more money through the stock market.

DJ Byrnes's picture

Chris Kubbs is an asshole and the most overrated coach in Ohio high school history.

Californian by birth, Marionaire by the Grace of President Warren G. Harding.

mtharp's picture

DJ this is the greatest comment i have ever read.  You sir just won the internet today

Crimson's picture

DJ this is the greatest comment i have ever read.  You sir just won the internet today two years ago.

Fixed that for you.


Buckeyebrowny919's picture

Well played, picture...well played

To give anything less than your best, is to sacrifice the gift - Steve Prefontaine

gravey's picture

Always amazed at how the right coach can take a school like MH (or prennial bottom feeders like my high school Chillicothe) and make a huge difference. They can't win there!...folks said...don't have talent...something's wrong with water...excuses, excuses...until the right coach comes along...bam.  10-0 season.. We had a few good years...lost the coach and returned to sub-mediocrity quickly.  

Mrcardboard's picture

Long time reader.. First time posting. All this Marion info cracks me up. I taught at Marion pleasant for 6 years and never understood all hate towards that school. I didn't coach there though.. Just worked at the elementary. Good stuff though DJ

Gobucks22250's picture

Your description of Marion is spot on i sadly enough am currently living here in Marion and not a day goes by i dont think about moving. I share your hate for pleasant my friend i grew up and went to school in Cardington which is in the same conference. I always disliked them for the im better than you attitude and the shady recruiting. We somehow got lucky and beat them one time in my HS days but every other year they pounded us like 50-6.

SaltyD0gg's picture

I graduated from Marion Harding during the Hinton years. While I appreciate the love that everyone here has for him, it is extremely disheartening to paint such a dismal picture of Marion, Ohio. To even infer that the one bright spot in the history of this proud city was a high school football coach, is not only silly, but wholly irresponsible.

For a city its size, Marion has a long, proud reputation of excellence. Marion counts among it citizens, a former President of the United States, Secretary of State, Secretary of the Treasury and other notable dignitaries. It's produced heavy equipment that helped build the Panama Canal and the rover that transported space shuttles to their launch. And has a notable history as a center of advertising and marketing design.

Like most middle class cities in America, it has been adversely affected by the recession and currently suffers from high unemployment and the vices that come with such a state. But I refuse to settle for the view that Tim Hinton is the best things that Marion has produced.

Please save your vitriol for cities in Michigan and be nice to your fellow Buckeye friends!

I do love the Adam Huddle reference, however :) Good kid, that one.

Pain of Discipline

Pain of Regret

Take Your Pick

DJ Byrnes's picture

I'd agree with you, if I had ever said the best thing that has ever come from Marion is Tim Hinton. That's ridiculous, which is why I didn't write it. Everybody knows the best thing to come from Marion is the 29th and Most Hated on President of the United States & True Ruler of the Eternal Cocaine Galaxies, Warren Gamaliel Harding. 

I did say Tim Hinton was the best thing to ever happen to Marion Harding football... which would seem is a claim the facts would back up.

And yes, I'm aware of what Marion has produced over the years. Tell me... besides spawns of heroin fiends and dryers, what is it Marion produces these days? I love Marion as much as the next Marionaire, but again... facts are facts. The best days of the City of Kings are behind it. You may be from Marion, but if you're college educated, I doubt you live there. And if you are college educated and in Marion, your kids won't be.

I like Adam Huddle too. Dude is a funny guy.

Californian by birth, Marionaire by the Grace of President Warren G. Harding.

ArTbkward's picture

I agree with DJ, I was relocated to Marion for work and I never considered for a second actually living here, it's best days are certainly behind it.  There are plenty of honest, hard-working people here but there are a lot of the "heroin fiend" types too.  Spend one evening at the Popcorn Festival and you'll see Marion residents in all their glory. 

And LOL at whoever mentioned the OK Cafe, I had lunch from there this week!

Also, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this post.  I didn't realize Hinton had Marion ties, everything else I had read about him only listed collegiate credentials.

We should strive to keep thy name, of fair repute and spotless fame...

(Also, I'm not a dude)

painterlad's picture

I work with a guy that went to Harding and was at that Massilon game. He said it was the most awesome/terrifying moment of his sporting life. He said that he quickly threw away his Prixie hat and made his way to the car. Massilon fans were angry that day, my friends, like an old man trying to return a bowl of soup.

That being said, Marysville is 179 in Ohio! Woo-who!

To err is human. Really sucking requires having yellow stripes on your helmet.

DJ Byrnes's picture

Yeah, I remember watching their band director get donked by a full 20 oz bottle thrown from the stands, lmao.

Californian by birth, Marionaire by the Grace of President Warren G. Harding.

SirChadlyOC's picture

Respect the perils of high school marching band, my friends.

I was in that band, and we started getting into our formation to march out. Once Mr. Baird got clocked, Mr. Wolfe was like, JUST GO. FORGET EVERYTHING I TAUGHT YOU AND GET ON THE BUSES NOW.

Arizona_Buckeye's picture

LOVE that epidsode!!!  Was it a Titleist? 

The best thing about Pastafarianism? It is not only acceptable, but advisable, to be heavily sauced

painterlad's picture

"I tell you...at that moment, I was a marine biologist!"

To err is human. Really sucking requires having yellow stripes on your helmet.

buckeyeteach's picture

Great article. This Marion native approves.

mtharp's picture

I grew up in Morral (small village about 10 miles north of Marion) and have watched heroin destroy a once great small town.  I have old friends that are doing time for heroin related incidents.  I never would have thought these guys would touch that stuff, but our city went to shit really quick and alot of people turned to drugs.  

Jason Gruber's picture

I was a senior on that 1998 Harding team. Coach Hinton will always be held in high regard in my eyes. He was not only a coach, but a mentor and father figure to us. He had a way of getting his point across to us without berating us. I only ever heard him swear twice, and he apologized afterwards both times. 
While short in stature, he loomed large where ever he went during that time. We all knew he was destined for more, and we were all appreciative of his tutelage. I will never forget many of the things he taught us, football and life lessons included. Urban is smart to have him on the staff. 

"You win with people." Woody Hayes

"If winning isn't everything, why do we keep score?" Vince Lombardi

"¯\_(ツ)_/¯" Joey Bosa