Considering how much UNLV gear she owns, Christin Hinton says she probably could open a Scarlet & Gray-themed apparel store. That is not surprising when you grow up in Las Vegas, earn two degrees from the hometown university ('10 BS Recreation & Leisure Services and '13 Master of Public Administration), and work for the Runnin’ Rebels men’s basketball program for more than a dozen years.
Truly, the senior director of basketball administration and alumni relations wears a lot of hats, at least figuratively. She is responsible for donor relations with the Runnin’ Rebels Club, manages the Legends Program, oversees the squad’s community outreach efforts, works on the team’s facility upgrade projects, and maintains the men’s basketball operations budget. She married her husband, Sean Hinton, in 2015 and the couple has one daughter, Maci.
You have an expansive title. How would you explain what you do to someone using just one sentence?
My job mostly consists of working behind the scenes to support the coaches and staff to help make their job and life easier.
What is the biggest misconception about your job?
The question I get asked the most is, “What do you do when the season is over?” Most people only think about us working from October to March. I think my reply always shocks them.
We do get some down time after the season but then you are preparing for the next season. April is a recruiting period, so getting coaches out on the road. In May you are preparing for June summer camps (unless COVID ruins all your plans), then July is a huge recruiting month for coaches with tournaments all over the country and making sure they get to where they need to go and being on-call 24/7 ready to change flights, hotels, and car rentals. Then August comes, school starts and players are back on campus and the season is right around the corner. There is never a dull moment in college basketball.
How has Las Vegas changed since you were growing up here?
I am a third-generation Las Vegan and my daughter is a now a fourth-generation Las Vegan, which I think is amazing as my grandpa was born here on First Street. The town is growing so fast but it still has a small-town feel in many ways. I’m always meeting someone who knows someone that I know.
Which high school did you attend?
I went to Trinity International High School, a small Las Vegas school. It allowed me so many opportunities, like receiving my associate’s degree from CSN before my high school diploma, playing basketball and volleyball, which I probably would have never done at a public school. I’m so grateful for my time there.
Tell us how you got into the world of college athletics.
Going to a small school probably changed my life journey. I played sports and also worked in our athletic office at Trinity. Our athletic director, Mr. Anderson, made some calls and it just so happened that UNLV had an opening in the basketball office. I got the call that I could come by and work summer basketball camp and then see if there would be a spot for me. That is how I got my foot in the door. They liked me enough to hire me as a student worker and I have been fortunate to work my way up ever since.
What is the biggest challenge in your field?
The biggest challenge for me has been learning to adapt during coaching changes. You get used to how someone operates but then someone new comes in and you have to adjust to their style of leadership because every coach is so different. I am extremely fortunate to have worked for so many amazing coaches and they have all had an impact on my life and career.
What was your greatest day on campus?
One of my greatest days was actually my very first day on the job. I started as a student worker under head coach Lon Kruger and, having been born and raised in Vegas, I bleed Runnin’ Rebel Basketball. So, the first day in the office — getting to see players Kevin Kruger, Wink Adams, Joe Darger, Curtis Terry — I was in shock that this was really my job and I wasn’t dreaming.
Do you have a favorite inspirational quote?
I have been big on quotes my entire life, especially ones that are short and sweet. The one that I seem to value the most is “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take” by (hockey legend) Wayne Gretzky. It is a reminder that you have to take risks because even if you mess up, it gives you the chance to gain something from the experience.
Just listening to music because I can’t stand silence. I always have music on, from the moment I wake up. At work, cooking, cleaning, working and driving, I have to have music.
What’s your guilty pleasure?
Watching the television reality show Big Brother. I think I have watched every episode since I was 12 and get one or two coworkers each year on the Big Brother band wagon. I‘ve always dreamed of being on the show but am too scared to actually apply for it.
Favorite food tradition in your family?
I know this is going to sound crazy but about 10 years ago, we started doing tacos for Christmas Eve dinner. It was something that was easy and quick, so it just stuck and now it is a tradition for my family. You can’t go wrong with tacos.
Other than Las Vegas, which is your favorite city in UNLV’s conference?
It’s easy to say San Diego but I was surprised how much I loved Boise, Idaho, when I went there for the first time. I fell in love with the landscape and scenery.
What was it like not having fans at games last season because of COVID?
It was so sad because our fans make the Thomas & Mack Center what it is. When that place is rocking and at capacity there is no place like it.