Inspired by 'Ozark,' Hintz joins college coaching staff in Arkansas
Former RCTC football coach Derrick Hintz is now coaching linebackers and special teams at Lyon College. The college, located in Batesville, Ark., is an NAIA school transitioning to NCAA Division III.
ROCHESTER — Derrick Hintz has always wanted to coach football at a four-year college and he received some inspiration when he was watching the television series “Ozark.”
Hintz stepped down as the head coach at Rochester Community and Technical College following the 2021 season. He posted a 34-15 record in two stints as a head coach and spent 19 seasons overall at RCTC.
But after leaving the Yellowjackets, he still had a great desire to coach and now he finds himself at Lyon College in Batesville, Ark. He has been on the job just over two weeks and started full staff meetings on Wednesday.
“We have a great staff, awesome administrative support, awesome collegiate support. So far it’s a great place to work,” Hintz said. “I work with great people.”
Hintz likes to watch TV while working on football preparations during the evening. Last year he was watching “Ozark” and he thought the scenery looked beautiful so he looked into colleges in the area that might have openings. Lyon College fit the bill as it sits on the foothills of the Ozark Mountains.
“I can look out my (office) window and there are the Ozarks,” Hintz said. “So it’s a beautiful part of the country.”
Lyon College is currently an NAIA school transitioning to NCAA Division III. Hintz is a linebacker and special teams coach as well as the academic coordinator. Hintz is going back to his roots. He was a linebacker and special teams coach for 12 years in Rochester.
“I’ve always wanted to be at a four-year (college),” he said.
He now goes from coaching and developing players from one or two years to four or five years. He is going to enjoy the dynamic of being able to build longer relationships with players. But any chance to coach is an asset for him.
“I’m going to probably die on the football field,” Hintz said. “That’s what I love to do. I’m going to do it as long as my body allows me to. Shoot, it might only be a year or two, or five or 10, I don’t know.”
The 57-year-old will be starting his 20th season coaching football at the college level and he will have to see how his body holds out. Hintz has had both knees, a shoulder and hip replaced. He had hip replacement surgery just this past December and then he dislocated it three months later.
“With all the titanium in my body, I’ve been looking to get out of Minnesota for about 10 years,” he said. “When you have metal in your body, it’s not much fun doing anything outside when it’s zero and below.”
And while Hintz’s body may have struggled with the Minnesota winters, he now has to brace for the sweltering Arkansas heat. Temperatures have been well over 100 degrees in July.
“The nice thing is we practice an hour and a half a day,” Hintz said. “The rest of the time you’re in an air conditioned office. (But) it’s going to be a tough transition.”
Lyon College is a small campus with about 700 students. And the guidelines for getting in are fairly tough.
“To get into the college alone, you have to have a 22 ACT and a 3.20 GPA,” Hintz said. “So we’re like one of the top colleges in the country.”
The start of the Lyon College season is just over a month away as the team opens Aug. 27. Lyon College did not have college football for 62 years before re-starting its program in 2013. Since then the college has added all new facilities. And fans have embraced the team.
Hintz realizes how big football is in the area. And he has noticed a few perks well, including a shopping discount while wearing his “Lyon football” shirt.
“Football is king in the south,” he said. “I don’t care if you’re a 4-year-old boy or a 78-year-old grandma, you’re rooting for somebody. Football is revered and if you coach down south, people want to talk to you, which is kind of cool.”