Jimmy Hires has always been a great basketball coach whose numbers put him in elite company. Everybody here knows that.
But now it’s official, at last.
Hires was inducted Saturday into the Georgia Athletic Coaches Association Hall of Fame. His biography for such a high honor – he’s one of fewer than 100 coaches to be inducted into the GACA Hall – notes Hires record as head coach at both Wayne County High School, where he coached briefly, and then Richmond Hill High School, where he came in 1981, is 641-157. It’s here where Hires became the Jimmy Hires who led RHHS to its only team state titles in any sport. Hires’ Wildcats won three state titles, were the runners-up once, and piled up 10 region championships. He also got his teams into the state tournament 16 times during his career, leading them to the Final Four five times.
That alone would be Hall of Fame worthy.
But it is Hires’ lasting and genuine commitment to the kids he taught and coached — and not just in basketball, but also baseball, cross country and golf — and the community he has served long and well as teacher, mentor, coach, father figure and friend to many that puts him over the top in our estimation and makes him someone worthy of such an honor as induction into the GACA Hall of Fame.
What’s more, when you note Hires also gave of his time to serve on the Richmond Hill City Council, and he continues to host such events as the upcoming Wildcat Basketball Camp, giving youngsters early teaching in the game he knows better than most, and just this spring coached the RHHS boys’ golf team to its first-ever state playoff appearance, and it’s evident Hires is a man for all seasons, including this one.
He is also quick to give credit to others, from his family – wife Libby, daughter Kala, son Jay -- to coaches he worked with and for and players he had. And he’s got a perspective on coaching that is refreshing in any age, much less one in which emphasis on winning tends to overshadow the simple fact that not everyone can and will win all the time.
“I hope I made a difference in people’s lives,” Hires said recently. “Everybody wants to win. I wanted to win, my players wanted to win … but at the same time you hope you can make a difference in other area’s of people’s life also.”
It’s a safe bet he has. Congratulations coach and enjoy your official status as a Hall of Famer. You deserve it.