Mentor, inspiration, father figure, role model, coach. These are just a few words that come to mind when describing long time Ballenas Whalers coach Sean Hines.
Hines, who was at the helm of the Ballenas Whalers football program for more than a decade, is heading home after arriving in Parksville 1988.
As one of the founding fathers of the program, Hines was as dedicated to the community as he was to the team.
Hines will be moving back to Oregon, where he’s originally from, leaving behind a legacy that won’t soon be forgotten. Current Whalers head coach Jeremy Conn coached with Hines for seven years and got to learn a thing or two from the man himself both on and off the field.
“It’s a big loss in the community, for sure. Sean was one of the reasons I came to Ballenas and we’ve become the best of friends,” Conn said. “It was an awesome experience and to be able to work with someone like Sean Hines is a great experience in itself.”
There were a number of highlights through his tenure with the Whalers, including a provincial title in 2002. Several players have come through the program and gone on to play at the university level and some at the professional level, something that Conn feels was a result of coach Hines’ community connection.
“He was just such an important part of the whole football scene here,” Conn said. “Sean went so far as to have his garage built so that he could store the football equipment in there. If any of the kids needed any gear, they’d head to his house and he’d have the gear there, ready to go. Sean was just one of those guys that was willing to do anything for you, he had a hard time saying no and that was what makes him the special guy he is.”
Hines’ dedication and passion for the game of football touched hundreds of students through the years. Oceanside Youth Football League numbers have been holding and the Whalers have consistently put a strong product on the field.
“As a communicator and mentor, there was none better when it came to the game,” Conn said. “He’s been such a key piece of the football scene for the Oceanside area and to lose a guy like him, there’s going to be a big hole missing that he filled for all those years.”
Sean Hines’ fingerprints will remain on the Whalers football program for years and with Conn having been a part of his coaching staff for several years, the Sean Hines attitude won’t be far away, regardless of where coach Hines calls home.