Post Falls’ Head Trojan has left the gridiron

Post Falls’ Head Trojan has left the gridiron

On the gridiron, he taught student athletes how to play football while on the sidelines he showed them how to battle through adversity to become better people. On Wednesday night Jeff Hinz laid down his clipboard for the last time.

Hinz, who has battled cancer for three years, died Wednesday in the wake of a massive stroke suffered last week, according to his YouCaring page:

After an almost 3 year battle with lung cancer, Jeff Hinz passed away last night peacefully with his family. The family wishes to thank all of you who have supported through visits, meals, fundraisers, good conversations, prayers, and love over the past few years. He passed knowing how many people truly cared for him. We will update this page when we know more details about a service. Please respect the family’s need for privacy and time to grieve as we all take a deep breath after this long fight.

Hinz was diagnosed with cancer on Thanksgiving Day in 2013. It was lung cancer, a rare form that was all the more confusing because Hinz was not a smoker.

His passions in life were his family and football, and while he fought the cancer as it spread through his body, he continued to fight from the sidelines at Post Falls High School, leading the Trojans on the gridiron.

“Football has been a passion of mine since I played back in high school,” Hinz said last November. “I feel that I got lucky and made the right career choice in life to coach it.”

But Hinz was the type of person who understood that teaching his players extended beyond the Xs and Os. It was more than what happened on the football field.

“I just don’t want to be a football coach that has cancer, you know what I mean? I want to be their football coach that not only teaches them the game of football, but some good life lessons on how to lead and develop into good young men,” Hinz said.

The support for Coach Hinz poured in from across the community during his cancer fight; from his players, his friends, and even from his alma mater turned cross-county rival, Couer d’Alene High School, where Hinz found a kindred spirit in Coeur d’Alene High School Head Football Coach Shawn Amos, who is a cancer survivor.

“He’s such a good man that people cared about him already, and I’m sure now they are showing him great support,” Amos said. “At Coeur d’Alene High School we’ve tried to show our support of Coach Hinz. He is a Coeur d’Alene grad and we try to do all we can. It’s a horrific battle. It’s tough.”

“The support they’ve given to me throughout the time is just outstanding,” Hinz said. “Through the whole North Idaho community, different teams, different schools, different communities.”

Indeed the support and appreciation for Coach Hinz was strong, as evidenced by the outpouring of thoughts about his passing on Twitter Thursday morning.

Hinz was honored by KXLY with the inaugural Jace Malek Award for Toughness last November for his determination to continue fighting cancer while staying on the sidelines for his student-athletes, doling out life lessons along with coaching them through football season.

Now Hinz’s cancer fight, like Malek’s has ended, leaving behind a loving family, friends, a supportive community and a two decade career of changing student-athlete lives for the better on and off the field.

Community reacts to Coach Hinz’s passing

Community reacts to Coach Hinz’s passing