Born in Ruston, Louisiana, Tom Hinton was a natural athlete who competed in both track and football, making all-state in track and All-American in football at the high school level. At university at Louisiana Tech, he was a four-year letterman in both track and football, and a co-captain in both sports. However, it was in football that he really excelled. In his final year, he was named All–American in football, elected “Athlete of the Year” in his conference, and was selected as the first player from his university to play in the Blue-Grey Bowl.
After the 1957 season Hinton was approached by numerous NFL teams before being drafted by the Chicago Cardinals. But he wound up accepting the offer of BC Lions general manager Herb Capozzi to play for the Lions.
In 1958, Hinton was named “Rookie of the Year” and became the only Lion to make the Western Football Conference all-star team. He was also the Lions’ candidate for the Schenley Award for “Best Lineman,” a feat he would repeat in 1959 for “Best Lineman” and “Outstanding Player,” as well as again making the WFC all-star team.
In 1963, the Lions faced off in Empire Stadium against the Hamilton Tiger Cats for their first chance at the Grey Cup. Although they lost the game, the Lions placed a record number of players on that year’s WFC all-star team including Hinton. In addition, he was named to the All-Canadian team. That was also the year Tom proudly became a Canadian citizen.
In 1964, the Lions trounced the Tiger Cats 34-24 for their first Grey Cup victory. Once again, Hinton’s outstanding efforts were recognized, and he was named to the WFC all-star team.
In 1966, Hinton was again named an all-star and was voted by the fans as the Lions’ “Most Popular Player,” after which he announced his retirement. In total, Hinton made five all-star teams. He started his BC Lions career as an all-star and after nine outstanding seasons, ended as an all-star.
Although retired as a player, Hinton continued his voluntary involvement with the Lions’ organization, serving as a member of numerous boards from 1970-90.
Hinton’s accomplishments have been widely recognized in both Canada and the United States. In 1981 he was chosen as one of the best two college defensive tackles in Louisiana’s history by Jerry Byrd’s “Football Country,” and in 1987, he was inducted into Louisiana Tech University’s Athletic Hall of Fame. The Lions selected him for their 1985 “All-Time Greats” team, and inducted him into the Lions’ Wall of Fame in 1987. In addition, he was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 1991.