Fred Hill, Legendary Baseball Coach, Dies At 84

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Fred Hill Sr., who served for decades as the head baseball coach at Montclair State University and Rutgers University, passed away Saturday, March 2, at age 84. The Verona resident amassed 1,089 collegiate wins, including 941 in 30 years leading the Scarlet Knights. Hill was a member of American Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame and the Rutgers Athletics Hall of Fame.

“Fred Hill was more than a hall of fame coach, he was a hall of fame person,” said Rutgers’ Director of Athletics Pat Hobbs in a statement this morning. “His impact is far greater than 1,089 career baseball victories. It’s beyond measure and lives within the countless individuals he coached, mentored and inspired. The entire Rutgers community will miss him dearly. Our sincere condolences to his wife Evelyn and the Hill family.” Hill retired from Rutgers in 2014 and was inducted into its Hall of Fame in 2015. The university dedicated a new training complex to him in 2017.

Hill’s first coaching position was as the freshman baseball coach at the former Upsala College. He then joined the former Clifford Scott High School in East Orange, spending five years as an assistant and six as head coach. After a stint as the football coach at Pequannonck High School, Hill became the head baseball and football coach at Montclair State in 1977. At MSU, Hill led the baseball team to a 148-91-2 record, while also guiding the football team to a 52-16-4 record.

After moving on to Rutgers in 1984, Hill, who was affectionately nicknamed “Moose”, compiled a 941-658-7 record, the most wins in Rutgers history across any sport. He earned 11 NCAA Regional appearances, 12 regular season conference championships and eight conference tournament titles during his tenure at Rutgers. Hill sent 73 players to professional baseball, with 12 making the big leagues, and developed 20 All-Americans.

Hill was inducted into Rutgers’ Hall of Fame in 2015.

“Where do I start?” said Joe Litterio, Rutgers head coach and former player. “How do you say goodbye to a man who has meant so much to so many different people? He was a leader by example. He taught us to do things the right way, to win with class. Nothing fancy, just old-fashioned hard work. And that was just the baseball side of him. He taught us much more than the fundamentals of baseball. He taught us the fundamentals of life.”

“I could speak for hours on what Coach Hill represented,” Glen Gardner, who played for and coached with Hill, said. “It was more than just baseball. As far as I’m concerned, I would never had been a coach if it wasn’t for Moose. If I helped anyone through my 29 years, it was an extension of Moose. Everything I learned, I learned it from him. He influenced so many. Moose might not be with us on this planet anymore, but he’s still teaching baseball to a lot of players.”

Hill, who was born July 15, 1934, was a collegiate star at Upsala, where he earned 11 letters, four in baseball, four in football and three in basketball. He was named a Small College All-American following his final football season, and was honored by Upsala as a distinguished alumnus in 1992. Hill played minor league baseball in the Washington Senators’ organization.

Hill is survived by his wife of 62 years, Evelyn, and children Nancy, Fred, Linda, Jim, Tracey and Karen, as well as many grandchildren, nieces and nephews. His wake will be Tuesday at Our Lady of the Church, with a funeral mass at OLL on Wednesday. 

Fred Hill at his last Rutgers game in May 2014.
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Virginia Citrano
Virginia Citranohttps://myveronanj.com
Virginia Citrano grew up in Verona. She moved away to write and edit for The Wall Street Journal’s European edition, Institutional Investor, Crain’s New York Business and Forbes.com. Since returning to Verona, she has volunteered for school, civic and religious groups, served nine years on the Verona Environmental Commission and is now part of Sustainable Verona. She co-founded MyVeronaNJ in 2009. You can reach Virginia at [email protected].

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