Bobby Hinnenkamp always appreciated how the teachers and coaches at Lynnwood High School helped shape his life.
So when a counseling job opened up at his former school, Hinnenkamp jumped at the opportunity to come home.
The 2002 Lynnwood High School graduate had been a counselor and basketball coach at Skyline High School for three years prior to being hired by alma mater two years ago. Hinnenkamp previously coached the Meadowdale freshman team for three years, working with former Mavericks coach Chad McGuire.
During his first week on the job at Lynnwood, Hinnenkamp made some inquires with the school’s coaches and eventually became a varsity assistant with the girls basketball team under Everett Edwards. Last year, the Royals won the 3A state championship.
This month Hinnenkamp begins another chapter of his life after he was named head coach of the boys basketball program, succeeding Michael Richards, who resigned.
“It’s an honor. I feel very fortunate that the A.D. and principal trust me to come back and lead this program,” Hinnenkamp said. “Lynnwood High School is a special place for me. It was a great experience for me, both as a student and a player. … I’m very fortunate to have this opportunity.”
Hinnenkamp is spending this month in the gym getting to know his players.
“I’m just trying to see what we have,” Hinnenkamp said. “We’re doing some skill development. … I wish we had more opportunities to get some games in. I’ve got a month to put together a fall program.”
This month is going to be important as Hinnenkamp will be evaluating the players to see what kind of a system to put in place. Hinnenkamp will design a system that best fits his players.
As for the ultimate goals, Hinnenkamp has two: Being competitive and making sure the players have a great high school experience.
Hinnenkamp acknowledges that he faces significant challenges with the boys program, which went 1-19 last season, and wasn’t much better the previous two seasons. It was a difficult decision for Hinnenkamp to leave the girls program, which also finished third at state a year ago.
“I felt like the time was right. It was a great opportunity,” Hinnenkamp said. “It is going to be a challenge. It is going to be a process.”
Hinnenkamp was pleased by what’s he’s seen from the team. The Royals bring back at least five players, who saw significant playing time.
“They’re coming in with a great attitude and are wanting to work hard,” Hinnenkamp. “They are listening to me. They are very receptive. That’s very encouraging to me.”
The first step to building a successful program, Hinnenkamp said, is for the players to be mental focused. It’s getting the players to think in a positive direction, knowing that they can compete, having the players mentally on the same page, building team chemistry and giving them the tools they need to be successful, Hinnenkamp said.
During his two years working with Edwards, Hinnenkamp learned a lot. Edwards’ practices were very organized and he always found ways to get the most out of his players, Hinnenkamp said.
“He communicates really well,” Hinnenkamp added. “The players know their roles and their positions.”
Coaching always was an interest for Hinnenkamp even when he was playing basketball at Lynnwood. Hinnenkamp also knew that he wanted to go into education.
“I knew that I’d go into education and be a basketball coach,” he said. “I’ve been very lucky to have those things come through for me.”
The thought of coming back to Lynnwood High School was always in the back of Hinnenkamp’s mind, especially when he did his internship at Meadowdale High School.
“I love to give back to the school that gave me so much – as a counselor and as a coach,” Hinnenkamp said.
– By David Pan