THOMASVILLE -- Thomas University officials recently named Taylor (T.J.) Rines as its new men’s basketball head coach. A native of Clyo, Rines is a TU alumnus and a former member of the Night Hawks men’s basketball team.
“T.J. Rines will be a great fit as our new head coach for the men’s basketball team,” Rick Pearce, TU athletics director, said. “Not only does he have outstanding coaching skills, but T.J. also has a heart for Thomas University and our basketball program. Our players will learn a great deal from him, both on and off the court.”
Rines’ interest in basketball began when his parents introduced him to the sport as a toddler. He began his collegiate career at South Georgia State College before earning a scholarship to Thomas University. In his first year as a Night Hawk, Rines helped the team become nationally ranked as high as 15th and helped the team reach the final four of the Sun Conference his senior year.
“I chose TU as a student because of the family atmosphere,” Rines said. “From the faculty and staff to the students, everyone was genuinely nice from the day I stepped foot on campus. They really cared about me, not only as a student, but as a human being. I am extremely grateful and humbled for this opportunity that God and Coach Pearce presented to me to teach the game where I call home.”
After graduating in 2017 with a bachelor of science degree in business administration, Rines served two years as a graduate assistant with the Night Hawks under previous head coach Brent Crews. During that time, he helped graduate nine seniors and train four all-conference players. Rines then served as an assistant coach at Reinhardt University in 2019-20, graduating three seniors and coaching Co-Freshman of the Year for the Appalachian Athletic Conference.
By returning to TU, Rines said he wants to help Night Hawks during their time at TU and beyond.
“I hope to be a mentor to these student-athletes not only from a basketball standpoint, but from a point to help them jumpstart their careers after they graduate from TU,” Rines said. “My family and mentors have always preached about helping people change their lives. Now I get to help these young men become better sons, brothers and overall better people. Being able to do that alone is a blessing by itself.”