The entire Hill clan traveled from Verona down to Piscataway on Saturday for a special ceremony to mark the retirement of Fred Hill Sr., who has been Rutgers University’s baseball coach since 1984.
Back then, Hill took a pay cut to move from the Montclair State Red Hawks to the Scarlet Knights, a memory that was recalled to the amusement of his wife Evelyn Hill on Saturday. He went on to compile a 941-658-7 record in his 30 years at Rutgers, including 11 NCAA Regional appearances, 12 regular season conference championships and eight conference tournament titles. Small wonder then that Rutgers chose to retire his No. 24 jersey at the Bainton Field ceremony, only the second jersey retirement in the school’s history.
Montclair State, where Hill had a 148-91-2 record in seven seasons, retired his No. 24 jersey in February 2010. Add in his years at MSU with those at Rutgers and Hill had a total of 1,089 victories at the college level. He has sent 72 players to professional baseball, including Todd Frazier of the Cincinnati Reds and David DeJesus of the Tampa Bay Rays.
Hill formally announced his retirement this past February. After speeches by Rutgers’ new head coach, Joe Litterio, and its director of operations, Glen Gardner,–both of whom had been coached by Hill when they were Rutgers students–Hill’s No. 24 was officially retired on the right field wall.
The speeches gave particular recognition to Mrs. Hill, Verona’s former town clerk, for her 30 years of support for the team behind the scenes. The ceremony was also attended by Hill’s sons Fred Jr. and Jim, and daughters Nancy Apisa, Linda Boyd, Tracey Hill and Karen Jandoli, and the nine Hill grandchildren, who all posed with the Scarlet Knights’ mascot.
Rutgers’ RVision TV captured the ceremony; you can watch it here:
Congratulations to Coach Hill, Verona’s own “living legend” and the entire Hill Family.