April 20, 2012
By Tom Weber
CARBONDALE, Ill. - Saluki men's basketball coach Barry Hinson named Tom Hankins as his associate head coach, Southern Illinois University announced on Friday.
Hankins, a native and lifelong resident of Tulsa, Okla., has spent the past 15 seasons as an assistant at Oral Roberts. He was originally hired by Hinson at ORU in 1997, and served under him for two seasons (1997-99).
"Whenever you put together a staff, there is one guy who you feel like you absolutely need to hire," Hinson said. "Coach Hankins has been my point of emphasis since day one, and I'm excited to bring him and his wife, Annie, and their three children -- Kamryn, Elizabeth and Luke -- to Carbondale."
During his tenure at Oral Roberts, the Golden Eagles won five Summit League regular-season championships and made three NCAA Tournament appearances (2006, 2007, 2008), along with two trips to the NIT (2005, 2012).
"He's very well respected in the Division I ranks, and there's no question in my mind that he is head coaching material," Hinson said. "He will not only be an asset to our basketball program, but will make a positive impact at our University and in the community."
In addition to serving as the top assistant, Hankins will be Southern's recruiting coordinator. At Oral Roberts, Hankins helped recruit forward Caleb Green, who scored 2,503 points and grabbed 1,189 rebounds in his career from 2003-07. A three-time conference Player of the Year, Green led the Golden Eagles to a pair of NCAA Tournament berths.
"Identifying talent, finding guys who are sleepers that other people may not think will be great players, that's my forte," Hankins said. "I've been fortunate and lucky to find some hidden gems while at Oral Roberts."
Hankins graduated from Thomas Edison High School in Tulsa in 1984. He was the school's career assist leader and was selected to the Tulsa World All-City basketball team his senior year. He played collegiately for both Northeastern Oklahoma A&M Junior College (1984-86) and Northeastern State (1987-89), where he was ranked in the NAIA top 10 for assists as a senior.
"Coach Hinson is the reason I'm coaching college basketball today," Hankins said. "I was a high school coach at the time he hired me. Since then, I've had different opportunities to move, but the main thing I've said when it comes to taking another job, I want to work for someone that I can trust and someone that I know."
Hankins, who saw Larry Bird and Indiana State play at the University of Tulsa when he was growing up, said he has an appreciation for the Missouri Valley Conference and especially Southern Illinois.
"I think the Missouri Valley is a fantastic level of basketball with great players and tremendous coaching," he said. "The recent coaching tradition at Southern Illinois with Bruce Weber, Matt Painter and Chris Lowery, and the success they had with the NCAA Tournaments and Sweet 16s, the FloorburnU, it's all very impressive."
Hankins and his wife, the former Annie Sisler, have three children: daughters, Kamryn Rae (13) and Elizabeth Ann (11), and son, Luke James (8).