University of Notre Dame alumnus Bob Hinton, from Ada, Michigan, has made a $5 million gift to his alma mater to endow the football team’s defensive coordinator position.
Hinton’s gift will help to underwrite the salary of the coach, provide stability and resources for the long term and create funds for use within the department.
“Everyone who is part of the Notre Dame Football Family is honored to be associated with Bob Hinton through this remarkably generous gift,” said Jack Swarbrick, vice president and James E. Rohr director of athletics. “The values Bob has embodied throughout his life — excellence, integrity, faith, and family — are the same ones that are at the heart of Notre Dame Athletics.”
Hinton’s gift marks the fourth Fighting Irish football endowed coaching position along with Brian Kelly, the Dick Corbett head coach; Chip Long, the John and Bobbie Arlotta Family offensive coordinator and Todd Lyght, the Pat and Jana Eilers Family defensive backs coach.
“Bob is a special person,” said Dick Corbett Head Football Coach Brian Kelly. “He graduated from Notre Dame and used that experience to develop an incredibly successful business, primarily built upon the idea of family. It’s this way of life that makes Bob’s generous gift, while not the least bit surprising, still incredibly unselfish. He’s always thought of others – and in this instance, Notre Dame – before himself.”
Clark Lea, completing his second season with the Notre Dame staff and his first year leading the defense, is the first Bob Hinton Defensive Coordinator.
“I’m honored by the generosity shown by Bob Hinton,” said Clark Lea, Notre Dame’s defensive coordinator. “Bob’s a wonderful man, whose love for this University is only topped by his love for his family. I’m lucky to have gotten to know him during my time at Notre Dame, and I’m humbled that my position will now bear his name.”
Hinton is a 1976 graduate of Notre Dame who majored in Accounting. He is the founder and owner of Hinton Transportation Investments (HTI), a collection of operating companies serving the transportation industry. He began his career after graduation from Notre Dame at Arthur Andersen & Co., and in 1983, purchased his first business that had $9 million in sales and 19 employees. Over the next 35 years, through both organic growth and acquisitions, HTI has become the largest trailer aftermarket parts business in the industry with system sales of over $400 million and 550 employees. Bob serves as chairman of the board, and his two children, Caitlin C. Hinton (Notre Dame class of 2008) and Joseph R. Hinton (Notre Dame class of 2011), work alongside him.
“Anyone who knows me would say the spirit of Notre Dame, the fight to be the best at whatever you do, runs through my veins. The greatness of Notre Dame is more than the football program, but the football program’s pursuit of excellence in academics and on the field personifies the Notre Dame spirit to the masses. Keeping the football program relevant in this competitive athletic environment perpetuates the Notre Dame spirit,” said Hinton.
Lea is a 2004 graduate of Vanderbilt University, where he played two seasons at fullback for the Commodores. He came to Notre Dame in 2017 as linebackers coach from Wake Forest, where he also coached the linebackers. His previous coaching stints include stops at Syracuse, Bowling Green, UCLA and South Dakota State.