His far-reaching impact as a coach, director of athletics and nationally-renowned college basketball administrator have earned Hildebrand a spot in the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame. He will be enshrined as one of two recipients of the 2014 Dave Dixon Louisiana Sports Leadership Award June 21 at the Natchitoches Events Center, along with nine other inductees.
The Induction Dinner and Ceremony culminates the June 19-21 Induction Celebration with a complete schedule and reservation information for events available at LaSportsHall.com or by calling the Hall of Fame Foundation office at 318-238-4255.
Except for two years of military service (1955-57), Hildebrand has been rooted in Natchitoches, but his impact has been far-reaching and especially in recent years, so have his travels. Since 1997, after retiring a year earlier following 13 years as athletic director at Northwestern, Hildebrand has been on the road frequently, particularly in the winter as a monitor, trainer, observer and evaluator of NCAA Division I college basketball referees. Since 2006, he has been one of four regional advisors who spends the regular season traveling the Midwest and South to rate officials, helping improve their performance and participating in choosing the referees for the NCAA Tournament
“Tynes has been a dearly valued member of the national officiating effort serving as an NCAA Men’s Basketball Regional Advisor for the last several years. The respect that the officiating and coaching communities have for Tynes is enormous,” said Dan Gavitt, vice president of the NCAA’s men’s basketball championships. “His success and experience as a head coach and athletic director at Northwestern State have been invaluable in his role in officiating.
“More than anything, Tynes has been a genuine friend and mentor to so many in intercollegiate athletics with a warmth, class, and style that is unique and personal,” said Gavitt.
“His openness in sharing his wisdom makes me feel good about college athletics,” said John Underwood, the Big XII Conference supervisor of officials since 2002 after a long career wearing a whistle as one of the country’s most respected referees. “I am proud to be among the many student-athletes and co-workers that he has influenced over the years to be the best you can be. One of his comments that I use every day is a ‘short pencil is better than a long memory.’ ”
His current role in college basketball has kept him busy year-round, not just during the season, at a time in life when many people in their early 80s are resting and reflecting. If he were spending time looking back, it would be reviewing a career marked with significant achievement and great influence in coaching and administration.
Hildebrand was recently named one of the Top 100 Players in Demon Basketball History during NSU’s hoops centennial celebration in 2013. As head coach at Natchitoches High School from 1957-65, he guided the Red Devils to six district championships and the 1958 state title. He was hired as Northwestern’s head coach in 1965 and won 191 games in 15 seasons, making four NAIA postseason tournament appearances before steering the program into NCAA and Division I status. USA head coach Henry Iba had Hildebrand and Bob Knight, among other young coaches, helping evaluate players in tryouts for America’s 1972 Olympic basketball team.
Along the way, Hildebrand became good friends with iconic UCLA coach John Wooden. He coached current Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey, who calls Hildebrand one of his three major influences in coaching, along with two Basketball Hall of Fame members, Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski and Morgan Wooten of DeMatha High School.
After three years as the university placement director, helping graduates find jobs, Hildebrand became NSU’s athletic director in 1983, using creative approaches that maximized resources while developing a virtual incubator for some of today’s more successful athletic administrators with an intern program. Hildebrand helped broker admission of NSU and other institutions such as Stephen F. Austin, Sam Houston State, Nicholls State and Southeastern Louisiana into the Southland Conference, which has evolved into a highly-regarded league thanks in part to his influence.
“Very few sports figures in Louisiana have played a more important role, for such a long time, than Tynes,” said Don Landry, the 2009 Dixon Award winner. “I first knew him as a championship high school coach and then competed against him as a college basketball coach. We later worked together as athletic directors. When I was the commissioner of the Southland Conference, he was a leader that I could always count on. I appreciated his advice, counsel and loyalty. And finally I am amazed the he is still contributing to college athletics in his role in basketball officiating.
“Tynes was a mentor for so many young people and he helped so many become successful in their careers. He was always willing to share the knowledge that he had gained to guide these future leaders in college athletics,” said Landry.
Those young people who began their professional careers as interns for Hildebrand at NSU include Greg Sankey, the executive associate commissioner of the Southeastern Conference; Greg Burke, wrapping up his 18th year as Hildebrand’s successor in the AD’s office at Northwestern; and Mark Molesworth, also in his 18th year as AD at Division III power Wisconsin-Platteville.