Today’s leading high school athletes often specialize in one event, which has made the prized 1900s term “all-around athlete” obsolete.
But it does not diminish the accomplishments of those like Mary Hines, who would be my nominee as one of Tucson’s foremost all-around athletes of the 20th century, if not forever.
At Tucson High School, Hines won the 1947 state championship in tennis doubles, which was basically the only sanctioned varsity sport for female athletes of the time. But once she left high school, Hines blossomed.
She was the UA’s top swimmer for two seasons and named the school’s leading female athlete of 1951-52. Over the next decade, Hines became one of the most prominent fast-pitch softball players, not just in Tucson but in the Southwest.
And she became one of Tucson’s most successful women’s bowlers over the next 30 years, routinely bowling three-game series in excess of 500. The daughter of a Tucson policeman and nurse, Hines formed a synchronized swimming team and then became an accomplished golfer, shooting her age, 85, at Silverbell Golf Course.
As a last act, she won a gold medal in the U.S. Senior Olympics in 2016, winning both the shot put and softball throw in the 70-over class when she was 86.
Yet Hines, who is No. 44 on our list of Tucson’s Top 100 Sports Figures of the last 100 years, is known as much (or more) for coaching than her many athletic accomplishments.
She coached Catalina High School to state volleyball championships in 1972 and 1983, and in 1985 was selected the national coach of the year by the National High School Coaches Association.
Hines’ coaching record at Catalina was 215-27, which led to her induction into the UA Sports Hall of Fame, the Pima County Sports Hall of Fame and the Arizona Softball Hall of Fame.
“With the advent of Title IX, the state AIA group finally sanctioned and recognized girls sports in the 1972-73 school year, developing schedules and paying for officials,” Hines said. “And, boy, were we ready to go. We won the state championship that season. We had a lot of motivation to be the best, to set the standard.”
Two of those who played for Hines’ state championship teams at Catalina — Juanita Kingston and Heather Moore-Martin — followed Hines’ lead and coached state championship volleyball teams at Rincon and Salpointe Catholic, respectively.
“Mary instilled the love of the game in us,” Kingston said in 2005. “We not only played, we loved to play. That’s why I think there are so many of Mary’s former players who are still involved in the game.”
Hines once told me that 15 of her former Catalina volleyball players became coaches.
“She was a master at motivating each person,” said Kingston, whose 1993 Catalina team went 26-0 to win the state championship. “I wish I could’ve done what she did.”
Contact sports columnist Greg Hansen at 520-573-4362 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter: @ghansen711