Robin Hines looking to go slow early on with GHSA
Robin Hines saw firsthand what high school athletics means to a community during his days in the Houston County school system.
At one time the principal at Northside, Hines rose through the Houston County administrative ranks, first as the assistant superintendent of school operations, then from 2010-14 as the district’s superintendent.
Three years after retiring from that position, Hines is once again in charge of an educational organization. This time, he has been picked to serve as executive director of the GHSA, an organization that has gone through challenges in recent years as it deals with differences between city, rural and private schools, transfer issues and increasing involvement by the Georgia legislature.
In a called meeting Tuesday at the Thomaston-Upson County Civic Center, the GHSA executive committee approved a three-year contract for Hines that pays him a base salary of $125,000 per year.
“I have a lot of good things to say about the Georgia High School Association,” said Hines, whose career also includes a five-year run as football head coach at Westover from 1990-94 and administrative roles at Charlton County, Jackson County and Dougherty. “It’s played a big part in my entire career as a teacher, a coach, athletics director, head football coach, principal, on up through superintendent.
“I believe in the mission of the organization and what it has to offer our young people. It has enhanced the educational experiences for our kids across the state through the playoffs and the championships, and we want to make sure that continues.”
Hines, a Valdosta State graduate who holds a doctorate from Nova Southeastern, takes over at a time when the association’s existence has been called into question. Legislation that would have created a new high school athletics governing body was voted out of the House Education Committee earlier this year, only to be put on hold when Hines’ predecessor, Gary Phillips, agreed to retire a year early.
Experience in dealing with Georgia’s educational structure helped make Hines an attractive candidate, one executive committee member said.
“He brings a wealth of knowledge,” Mary Persons principal Jim Finch said. “I can’t describe everything that he can do. He’s been a coach. He’s been a principal. He’s been an assistant principal. He’s been an assistant superintendent. He’s been a superintendent. There’s just not anything with schools that he hasn’t done.”
One of the issues drawing the legislature’s attention, student-athlete transfers, was addressed during Tuesday’s meeting.
The executive committee was scheduled to vote on a proposal that would have forced all transfers to sit out half of an athletics season unless a waiver was granted by the former school. After a few minutes of discussion having to do with how quickly such a proposal could be implemented, the executive committee voted to table the measure.
“I think it was a very smart move to table the rule change on the transfer students (Tuesday) because we need to take a solid look and assess the resources that we’re going to need to implement such a policy,” Hines said. “That was a good deal to give us time to look at it, look at the data and see how we might best attack the issue because it certainly is an issue.”
A smaller proposal, one that grants one-time transfer waivers to boarding students at Ben Franklin Academy, Darlington, Riverside Military and Tallulah Falls, was passed. Darlington’s waiver, covering the boarding portion of the school only, will begin for the 2017-18 academic year, while the other three boarding schools will be covered at the start of the 2018-19 school year.