Thursday, May 27, 2010

Maturity, confidence lifted Hines to Hall of Fame

In one moment, in a game at Maryland in 1987, a Hall of Fame career took flight.

Duke wide receiver Clarkston Hines had beaten the defensive back deep, but quarterback Steve Slayden had underthrown the pass.

As the Maryland player recovered, it appeared he was going to intercept. But Hines, a sophomore, leaped high into the air to snag the ball over the defender’s outstretched arms.

"That play gave me a huge shot of confidence and the belief that from there on out I could catch anything that was thrown to me,” Hines said.

Hines, who played at Chapel Hill High and lives in Statesville, went on to a career that landed him in the National Football Foundation’s College Hall of Fame. The formal announcement was made Thursday, although Duke coach David Cutcliffe called Hines to breathe word of it to him Wednesday.

The numbers Hines posted – he still leads the ACC with 38 career touchdown receptions and 17 100-yard receiving games in his career – testify to a career that took off that sophomore season.

As a freshman, Hines had suffered a knee injury that took two years to rehabilitate. But he returned to the field confident and mature, and he fit perfectly into a Steve Spurrier scheme that carried Duke to an 8-4 record and a share of the ACC title in 1989.

"I just think that I was at the right place at the right time,” Hines said. “I had the opportunity to play for a very innovative offense, especially in the 1980s, that had a strategy and schemes that were groundbreaking in what Coach Spurrier brought in terms of his offense.

"I had some really good quarterbacks that threw the ball, and they learned a lot from Coach Spurrier and heeded his coaching, and I had arguably, one of if not the best offensive lines that Duke has had in many years.”

Hines also came from an athletic family that stressed academics. His late mother, Jackie Hines, was an all-state basketball player at Hawley High in Creedmoor. His father, Eugene Hines, was an all-state football player at Chapel Hill High.

Both went on to be the first in their families to graduate from college.

“They were very instrumental in my becoming the person I am today,” Hines said.

Today, Hines is vice president of DaVita, Inc., which runs more than 60 kidney dialysis clinics throughout the state. Along with the rest of the 14-member class, which includes former N.C. State defensive tackle Dennis Byrd, Hines will be inducted into the Hall of Fame at a Dec. 7 ceremony at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York.

He has only been to New York City a few times, and has never been to the Waldorf, so the trip will be a treat for him.

“I’m proud to represent Duke Univeristy and my family,” he said, “and also the state of North Carolina."

Ken Tysiac