A new beginning for the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff’s Athletics Department unfolded Wednesday morning with the announcement of their newly-hired director of athletics, Melvin Hines.
UAPB Chancellor Laurence B. Alexander gave thanks to Myers McRae Executive Search and Consulting for lending their services to the director of athletics search committee and to the former interim AD Elbert Bennett.
“Today represents a culmination of a broad and extensive search for the next leader of the department of athletics,” Alexander said. “We were fortunate to have the services of The National Higher Education Search Firm of Meyers McCray to assist us in the search process.
"It’s a process that started a little more than three months ago with the development of a new position description to match with the advancements that the Athletic Department has made over the last several years. The process continued with the appointment and the subsequent work of the AD search advisory commit work of the AD search advisory committee representing various aspects of the University, including the administration, the athletics program, the faculty, the faculty athletics representative, our national alumni association president, a member of our board of trustees, and members of the local business community.”
Hines has a pedigree that couldn’t go unnoticed by the search committee, and he checked all the boxes for what they were looking for, according to Alexander. Hines was most recently the director of athletics at Alabama State University from 2012-17 before he decided to resign. Hines played collegiate football at Auburn University, where he gained his Bachelor of Science degree in adult education.
After his time at Auburn, Hines moved on to begin his coaching career at the University of Louisville in 1997 as a graduate assistant. While at Louisville, Hines graduated with a Master of Science in Education with a concentration in sports administration degree. Hines would then continue his coaching career at Alabama A&M University as a wide receivers coach for four years. After coaching, Hines decided to move into administration, serving as judicial affairs officer at AA&M from 2003-2004.
Hines then moved on to Troy University from 2005-06 to be their director of Student-Athlete Services. After Troy, he had a brief stint at the University of Minnesota, where he assisted with various on-campus departments while focusing on the development and implementing of a comprehensive advising program for student-athletes.
His next stop would be the University of Mississippi, where he would serve from 2008-10 as the associate director of Student-Athlete Academic Support Services. His recent time as AD at Alabama State University, and his stint as a coach and administrator at Alabama A&M University provides him with the familiarity of the Southwestern Athletic Conference. His time spent at Division I programs was also a plus in the search committee’s eyes, and Alexander is confident that they’ve hired the right man for the job.
“It is one who is new to the UAPB community, but he’s no stranger to the SWAC,” Alexander said.
“The committee was most impressed with his prior leadership and experience at Division I programs, his tenure at NCAA limited resource programs, his strong concern for the well fare of student-athletes and his potential for advancing Golden Lion athletics through increasing alumni relations, building strong business and community partnerships, and increasing fundraising donations and sponsorships to our athletics program.”
Hines opened his statement to the audience by thanking his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, his parents, wife, and daughter, who were all in attendance, along with the UAPB administration. After that, Hines emphatically made it clear that he’s here for business.
“Golden Lions, let’s get ready to roar,” Hines said.
“I’m not here to give you a bunch of false promises. “I’m here to let you know that, moving forward, UAPB athletics will be dedicated and fully committed to recruiting student-athletes and building teams that will achieve successes both athletically and academically. “Student-athlete welfare will be the foremost priority in our efforts to enhance the overall development and experience of UAPB student-athletes.”
For athletic success, Hines has three pillars that they’ll lean on, and four areas that they’ll be measured by.
“Athletics will be coach driven, student-athlete centered, and administrative supported,” Hines said.
“To achieve our objectives the athletics department must align its objectives with the University and operate as one.
“We must utilize the visibility of athletics as the front porch of the house to reinforce the mission of the University.
“Our athletics department will be measured in four key areas. Athletic successes, academics, rules compliance and fiscal responsibility. We must understand the significance of each area and how (they) directly relate and/or impact one another.
“That should be our responsibility and goal to achieve at the highest level in each area. It’s paramount that it be understood that the lack of rules compliance, physical integrity, and academic achievement will have a negative impact upon the successes of our Athletics Department.”
Hines plans to use an acronym based off of five vowels to ensure that what is expected of those in athletics at UAPB is understood.
“No Excuses University” is what Hines wants UAPB to be known as, and he’ll be the leader behind the movement. “We will accomplish these goals by embracing a university mantra of ‘No Excuses University,’” he said. “We’re just going to get the job done. This Athletic Department has a strong tradition of being winners going all the way back to the 1966 SWAC football and basketball championships just to name a few.
However, to achieve these successes we must be committed to a few simple vowels, A, E, I, O, U. ‘A’ is for accountability, ‘E’ is for excellence, ‘I’ is for integrity, ‘O’ is for orientation, and finally ‘U’ for university.” Former interim AD Bennett will move back into his role of vice chancellor of student affairs.