Chris Hinton '19 became the fifth Spartan honored with a place on the prestigious U.S. Army All-American Bowl roster. (Since the writing of this article, his brother Myles '20 became the sixth to earn this honor.) The High School bowl game selects only 90 out of the 1.2 million football players in the nation. His Spartan predecessors have ventured out into the full scope of possibilities, including winning the 2019 NCAA College Football National Championship title to playing professional football.
However, the Michigan-recruit was not the only Spartan on the field on the East Coast team. Coach Tim Hardy also earned a spot on the coaching staff. With his fifth consecutive player performing at the highest level, the coaching recruits took notice of Hardy’s leadership within our elite program. For one week, the two Spartans experienced bowl games together.
“All-star coaching is different: You don’t have the relational equity with the team and you can’t build it in a matter of days, so you have to recognize that,” Coach Hardy said. “Everyone there wants to play well, but overall we [the coaches] are there to just serve the players.”
This top tier of student-athletes contains the most recruited players in the nation, meaning many of them will face each other or play together in the near future. For Chris Hinton, the game was a networking opportunity spent with his soon-to-be teammates at the University of Michigan.
During half-time, Hinton shared with Coach Hardy that this game had been his highest level of competition—and he loved it. For the players, this is a foreshadowing of what is to come. “This kind of experience is a great segway from High School. It’s their capstone High School football event, at the highest level,” Coach Hardy said. “We run our program college-style. Everything our program does is to prepare them for what is to come.”
For Army Bowl and Spartan alum Kyler McMichael '18, the 2018 Army Bowl game springboarded him into a game that awaited him only a year later. McMichael took home a ring with the Clemson Tigers in the 2019 NCAA College Football National Championship. Post-fanfare and celebration, McMichael paid Coach Hardy and GAC the greatest compliment. “Coach, I was so prepared.” Just as his predecessors before him,
Hinton returned to Norcross renewed with fervor to continue his pursuit of excellence at GAC and on to the University of Michigan.