By Joseph Phillips
In February, Chicago Bears head coach Matt Eberflus finalized his coaching staff with the hiring of Justin Hinds as assistant defensive line coach and Kevin Koch as a coaching assistant.
Hinds comes to Chicago from Western Carolina where he served as defensive coordinator for the Catamounts in 2021. Prior to that he was defensive line coach for two seasons at Central Michigan, 2019-20.
Hinds mentored two All-MAC selections along the defensive line in 2020, including Troy Hairston II and Mohamed Diallo. Hairston was also dubbed the MAC Co-Defensive Player of the Year in 2020 and led the MAC with 5.5 sacks and 12 tackles for loss.
In 2019, Hinds was part of head coach Jim McElwain’s staff which engineered a remarkable turn-around, taking a program that won one game in 2018 to an 8-6 finish, a Mid-American Conference West Division title, and a berth in the New Mexico Bowl.
Hinds led a Chippewa defensive front that featured two All-MAC honorees in Sean Adesanya, who was named to the all-conference first team, and Robi Stuart, who earned a spot on the third team. In addition, CMU ranked second in the league in 2019 in total defense.
Before moving to Central Michigan, Hinds was the defensive line coach in 2018 at Lafayette College in Pennsylvania. The Leopards finished among the top 25 teams in the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) in takeaways with 23, and they were second in the Patriot League with 15 interceptions.
Hinds helped cultivate similar success at Valdosta State, where he served as the defensive line coach under current WCU head coach Kerwin Bell. The Blazers program regularly ranked among the top teams in both the Gulf South Conference and NCAA Division II in interceptions, turnovers gained, first downs allowed, and third-down defense.
Hinds earned a bachelor of science degree from Rowan University (N.J.) and a master’s degree from Wagner College (N.Y.) where he coached the defensive line and outside linebackers from 2012-13. Hinds was a two-time All-New Jersey Athletic Conference defensive lineman during a four-year career at Rowan and then served as a graduate assistant on McElwain’s staff at Florida in 2015 after coaching the 2014 season as a graduate assistant at Mississippi State.
Koch joined the Northwestern football program in July of 2017 as defensive graduate assistant and was promoted to defensive quality control analyst in February of 2019.
In his first season working with the Wildcats’ defensive backs, the group was pivotal in Northwestern’s 10-3 campaign and 2017 Music City Bowl title. In his second year in Evanston, Koch helped the ‘Cats secure the program’s first Big Ten West Division champion- ship and third consecutive bowl victory in the Holiday Bowl.
Before coming to Northwestern, Koch honed his craft on both sides of the ball at Benedictine University, in Lisle, Illinois, where he coached tight ends, running backs and served as special teams coordinator in addition to leading the program’s recruiting efforts in the Chicagoland area.
Prior to Benedictine, he served as the defensive backs and special teams coach for two years at his alma mater, Minnesota State University of Moorhead, after beginning his coaching career at Robert Morris University in Chicago.
A native of Elmhurst, Koch earned a bachelor’s degree in exercise science from Minnesota State University Moorhead.
Joseph Phillips is the Sports Editor for the Chicago Crusader Newspaper. He is a Chicago native, who has been a sports writer for over 17 years. He also hosts the SC Media News and Sports Network Q&A radio show on WHPK 88.5 FM Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected].
Joseph Phillips is the Sports Editor for the Chicago Crusader Newspaper. He is a Chicago native, who has been a sports writer for over 17 years. He also hosts the SC Media News and Sports Network Q&A radio show on WHPK 88.5 FM Chicago.