Torrean Hinton knows that taking over a football program that didn’t field a varsity squad for the 2018 season requires patience.
The new Cedar Ridge head coach has been on the job for only a few days since former head coach Antonio King announced he was leaving the school in an email to parents, but he has already stressed the importance of viewing each day as a process. So far, he’s already seen positive results.
“We’ve been working extremely hard,” Hinton told the News of Orange in an interview Tuesday night. “The guys are dialed in. We’re all about the process. My main focus right now is just making sure we stay on the time, making sure we’re structured and these kids are responding really, really well to it.”
The new head coach joined the Cedar Ridge program after last season, initially as an assistant coach for King. He was the head coach at Lowe’s Grove Middle School in Durham for the 2018 season before moving to Hillsborough.
Hinton is familiar to the North Carolina area. He graduated from Hillside High School, where he played quarterback, in 1999. He received a scholarship to continue his football career at Alabama A&M, but transferred to North Carolina Central after one and a half years, and received his bachelor’s degree from NCCU in behavioral sciences.
Hinton says he’s been coaching for nine years, starting as an assistant coach at Shepard Magnet Middle School in Durham. After three seasons there, Hinton was contacted by King — who was then the head coach at Hillside. Hinton joined King to run the junior varsity program. It was his first experience as a head coach and he says it helped prepare him for the job at Cedar Ridge.
“In that experience I had limited staff, so we had to do a lot, but we had a lot of kids,” Hinton said. “I think I had 60-something kids my last two years there. Transitioning to Cedar Ridge, we’re at about 40. So I got to do a lot because of the staff we had at the time. We had 60 kids on JV, maybe 60 kids on varsity. So we couldn’t be in both places, so I got to kind of run my own program there. It just kind of prepared me for this right here, something that i’ve been looking forward to doing.”
The job at Cedar Ridge had been on Hinton’s radar for some time, so naturally he’s looking forward to his first season at the helm of the program.
“We’re very, very excited,” Hinton said. “We’re excited to have varsity football. I’m extremely overjoyed for my seniors. They stayed last year and played the JV schedule. Now, I think the reward for them is to have their varsity competition and go out as varsity players.”
Although King departed for a job as the running backs coach at NCCU, the rest of Hinton’s staff has stayed the same, providing stability for the program as Hinton takes the reins for Cedar Ridge.
Now, Hinton says he wants to make the team’s culture as positive as possible for his players.
He knows that there could be some ups and downs for the program in its first season back at the varsity level after posting a 4-5 mark at the junior varsity level in 2018. But he’s ready to face the challenge, knowing that it’s all part of the process for Cedar Ridge.
“We’re just ready to get to it,” Hinton said. “You look at our schedule, we know who we have to play, we’re going to show up, we’re going to play hard every game.”
Cedar Ridge opens the season at home on Aug. 23 against Carrboro High School.