Culby Hinson isn’t furry, doesn’t have floppy ears and doesn’t run around banging on a bass drum.
But he sure does seem like the Energizer Bunny. Or at least he must down a pot of coffee every morning.
Simply put, sitting still isn’t his style.
“Let me put it to you this way,” Stratford head boys basketball coach John Paul Gaddy said. “The night they lost (in the semifinals) in football, I got a text from him at 11:15 that night saying, ‘Can I meet you in the gym in the morning?’
“That’s Culby. Culby’s been 40 since he was about 13.”
Hinson was a four-sport starter at Stratford, involved in nearly a half-dozen clubs at school, does volunteer work and graduated last month with a 3.81 overall GPA in a curriculum that included six advanced-placement classes.
The fullest of plates hasn’t interfered with Hinson in the classroom, and his high GPA at a difficult school as well as his feats with cleats and on the court all make him an easy choice for The Telegraph’s Martha Pennyman Scholar-Athlete award for 2008-09.
“You find a lot of folks that are going to enjoy that senior year and get through it and not challenge themselves,” Gaddy said. “But obviously, when you look at his transcript and see what he’s taken, he wasn’t content just to do well in something that may not be as demanding.”
Hinson’s 3.81 overall average is boosted by a 4.1 as a senior.
“I’m happy with it, knowing where I started,” Hinson said. “My freshman year, I kinda struggled adjusting to high school. I had a 3.6. Each year, I kinda got better.”
The latest honor comes after he shared the school’s Dr. John Paul Jones Award for Stratford’s top senior male student-athlete with close friend and basketball teammate David O’Shaughnessey.
Hinson’s schedule would rattle any Blackberry or PDA.
In the fall, he was Stratford’s quarterback and safety. Then, he went right into basketball as the Eagles’ point guard. As the weather warmed, Hinson grabbed the chest protector and mask as Stratford’s catcher. And then there’s always track, where he ran the 400 and was part of two relay teams.
Hinson is a good golfer, which worried head baseball coach Jeff Treadway.
“I think he may have considered playing golf this year,” Treadway said. “I had heard that along the way. But his loyalties are such, he knew we needed him and he did what I was glad he did.
“But he could have played golf. He can do just about anything he wants to.”
Golf may be Hinson’s best sport, but he just couldn’t give up baseball.
Now, he’ll have to adjust to a life without so many sports when he starts classes at Georgia to study agricultural engineering.
“I love being involved,” Hinson said. “And by nature, I’m a very competitive person.”
The honors graduate will likely find a way to stay busy.
Hinson has worked at Jim Gaudet’s Baseball Camp, as well as Stratford’s camps. He has done work with the Boys and Girls Club in Mississippi and been part of a mission trip to Peru, where his cousin Shae served as a missionary for two years.
“Our church, it was kind of a different mission trip, more of a medical mission,” Hinson said. “We took a dentist and a doctor. Three fathers and three sons. Those native people never really see doctors.
“It was an incredible experience, to see how blessed we are in America. It was good to help them in any way that we could.”
There’s a job with Mid-Georgia Ambulance Service in the billing department, an internship with a local engineering firm, and working with the “Façade Squad” in Macon, a group that works to restore and rebuilding structures downtown.
Clearly, relaxing isn’t easy for Hinson, so it’s almost comforting to know that he did take some time off. His graduation gift from his father was a trip this past weekend to Pebble Beach, a regular location for the U.S. Open golf tournament.
Hinson, who shot an 85, got home just after midnight Tuesday morning. But he woke up bright and early, ready to tackle any tasks at hand.
“If anybody deserves to go out there and relax a couple days,” Treadway said, “it’s him.”
The full tank is all Hinson knows. Practice, study, play, study, work and repeat. It is, as Gaddy said, Culby, and it’s his way of saying thanks.
“My mom and dad made great sacrifices to send me to a strong academic school,” Hinson said. “I always had the goal to work as hard as I could, to put academics ahead of athletics, and work to please them and myself and use the abilities God’s gifted me with.
“They made great sacrifices for me.”
That backs up Gaddy’s example of Hinson’s humility.
“Early on in the season, we were practicing and watching film one day,” Gaddy said. “Culby was always the example we used, He finally came to me and said, ‘Can you not compliment me so much?’ But it’s hard not to.”
Treadway said Hinson has been a mainstay in Stratford sports for four years, and his athletic accomplishments combined with the academic achievements make him a rarity, even at Stratford.
“He’s the kind of guy you know is really going to be successful,” Treadway said. “When he gets out of college, he’s going to hit the ground running.”
He doesn’t know any other way.