George C. Hines, hall of fame rower and coach at La Salle, has died at 96

George C. Hines, a 1946 graduate of La Salle College High School, died Saturday, January 27, of vascular dementia at the Artman personal care center in Ambler, his obituary said. He was 96 years old.

Hines was a hall of fame rower and coach at La Salle College High School, La Salle University, and the Malta Boat Club, his obituary said. He was also the cofounder of the Hines Rowing Center in Conshohocken, a longtime real estate owner and broker, and a military veteran.

From La Salle College High School’s tribute to Mr. Hines:

He attended La Salle College High School at 1240 North Broad Street. While a senior, he tried out for the rowing team, which had been resurrected at Vesper Boat Club by none other than John B. Kelly, Sr. He was cut from the squad. Most other students would have abandoned the sport at that point, but not George. He went next door to Malta Boat Club and learned how to scull, competing in sculling events that spring and summer. Upon graduation from La Salle in 1946, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy and became a flight line mechanic.

In 1956, George was asked to join the coaching staff at La Salle College High School. He initially coached a four-oared crew that won the Stotesbury Cup. He was appointed Head Coach in the summer of 1956. In 1961, George moved the La Salle High rowing program to Malta Boat Club, where he served as Captain. Malta remained the beginning and center of George’s rowing life. While captaining Malta, George was presented with the prestigious Ilman Award for Public Service to the Philadelphia rowing community. In 1963, George designed and constructed a training barge with seats for twelve rowers, six to a side, with a walkway down the middle for the coach. He used this vessel to coach hundreds of novice La Salle rowers.

During his twelve-year tenure at La Salle College High School, he piloted the rowing team to preeminence during a time when the sport had been dominated by schools from Virginia and Canada. He coached both sculling and sweep rowing and guided his team to victory in over twenty Catholic League and City Championships in every boat class from singles to eights. In 1965, he coached a Varsity Eight to a National Championship, At the Stotesbury Cup in 1966, his crews swept the Varsity Eight, JV Eight, Varsity Quad, and Varsity Double. During his tenure, La Salle’s rowers were highly competitive in every boat class, establishing the school’s first dynasty in rowing. Over the course of 50 years on Boathouse Row, George inspired hundreds of young men who became City Champions, Stotesbury Champions, National Champions, and Olympians. His influence on his athletes was immediate, powerful, and long-lasting.

In 1969, George was appointed Head Coach of La Salle College. He was commissioned as a Judge/Referee by the National Association of Amateur Oarsmen and served as Vice Chairman of the Dad Vail Regatta Committee until 1984. George was inducted into the La Salle College High School Alumni Hall of Fame in 2009, and the school’s Hall of Athletics in 2015.

Funeral services for Mr. Hines were held February 3.

Donations in his name may be made to the La Salle College High School rowing program, 8605 Cheltenham Ave., Wyndmoor, Pa. 19038.

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Photos: Philadelphia Inquirer via the family