CHILLICOTHE, Ohio --
The Chillicothe High School gymnasium echoed with the cheers of its students and staff. Head football coach Ron Hinton was being honored by the United States Marine Corps with the 2017 Semper Fi Coach's award Feb. 7 during halftime of the Chillicothe Cavaliers boys' varsity basketball game.
The Semper Fi Coach Award recognizes high school football coaches who exemplify the Marine Corps motto: Semper Fidelis – always faithful. It is earned by coaches who model the leadership values of honor, courage, and commitment.
“I enjoy working with and molding boys into young men and watching them reach their full potential,” said Hinton, 65, from Amanda, Ohio. “I enjoy the competition, the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat. The building of teams and the ability to set goals, work to attain them and going beyond those goals."
Hinton has demonstrated a career befitting the Marines’ award. His drive to coach young men into tough and responsible student-athletes mirrors the Marine Corps development of elite warriors and quality citizens. His influence at the high school is undeniable.
“He had a very big impact on my life,” said Patrick Corbin, 18, a Chillicothe High School senior. “He’s one of the first people I thought about when I was thinking about going into the Marine Corps. He has been a great mentor in my life.
“I think he fully deserves it. Over the years he has stayed consistent with what I consider the values of the Marine Corps. Honor, commitment, duty, respect. He’s always been there to teach us that and more,” Corbin said.
Hinton is the only coach to receive the award from Marine Corps Recruiting Station Charleston, which covers much of Tennessee, West Virginia, Virginia, Ohio and Kentucky. He is one of only 15 coaches to receive the award across the eastern United States. Despite the accolades, he remains very humble about his work.
“I've done exactly what I've always wanted to do, be a teacher and coach,” said Hinton, who is a 39-year head coach. “I am also so thankful to have been surrounded with so many great coaches… I may not be the smartest coach, nor the best, I just surround myself with great people and let them go to work!"
The Semper Fi award is not awarded based solely on winning records or championship titles, although Hinton has earned plenty of both. A Semper Fi coaches are those who create legacies of intentional leadership.
"Our programs have not been built on the best athletes in Ohio, but with the best young men in Ohio – ones who aren't afraid to lay out everything they have day in and day out,” said Hinton.
Many students had glowing praise for Hinton and his impact on their lives. Over the course of his career, he has shown a keen ability for helping students to overcome the obstacles in their lives.
“About three years ago I had problems with anxiety, and he really helped me get over that. He’s helped me become a stronger person…into the young man I wanted to be,” said Marcus Craddock, 17, a Chillicothe Senior. “There are guys that come in that are struggling to make ends meet, and he will let them come in and work on his farm. He deserves this award.”
“There’s a slogan in our locker room ‘it just doesn’t matter,’ which means it doesn't matter how the odds are stacked against you,” said Hinton. “You go out, compete as hard as you can and not worry about failing, just competing and doing the best [you] can."
The Semper Fi award is presented as part of an ongoing partnership between the United States Marine Corps and Glazier Clinics, a national football and athletics coaching organization.