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DoubleRSU Offline
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Lew Hill dead
02-07-2021 06:23 PM
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NMSUPistolPete Offline
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RE: Lew Hill dead
Very sad news. I feel for his family and his players. There is no explanation why COVID takes some people and leaves other relatively unharmed. It is a conniving killer.
(This post was last modified: 02-07-2021 06:42 PM by NMSUPistolPete.)
02-07-2021 06:40 PM
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Vaqueronation Offline
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RE: Lew Hill dead
umm he looked completely normal last night. wow this hurts and I didn't even know him. Can just imagine his family and the players.
02-07-2021 06:45 PM
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CrimsonPhantom Offline
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RE: Lew Hill dead



02-07-2021 06:58 PM
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TexanFan Offline
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RE: Lew Hill dead
Prayers for his family and friends.
02-07-2021 07:07 PM
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FINALFOUR1970SWEETSIXTEEN1992 Offline
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RE: Lew Hill dead
This is very sad. Praying for him and his family.
02-07-2021 07:13 PM
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PojoaquePosse Offline
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RE: Lew Hill dead
Wow...
02-07-2021 07:30 PM
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OhioBoilermaker Offline
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RE: Lew Hill dead
coached last night and died this morning? damn. thoughts are with his famiily.
02-07-2021 08:35 PM
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WACfan86 Offline
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RE: Lew Hill dead
Hey guys... Covering UTRGV isn't easy but I will leave some nuggets of info... After the series against Dixie State, when the program shut down due to protocol, I knew something wasn't right. So this past week during his weekly interview with the media, Hill was riled up by a question in which he chuckled and said "You guys are lucky because I'm feeling better." Then in another interview with the WAC, Hill had said that he left the assistants in charge of practice while he stayed home."

Draw your own conclusions but I am unfortunate as I put this. He was a genuine person.
02-07-2021 11:38 PM
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NMSUPistolPete Offline
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Post: #10
RE: Lew Hill dead
It was taking Coach Hill awhile, but he had UTRGV going in the right direction. His program was getting better each year. I feel bad for his players. There is a strong bond between a player and his head coach. I obviously want NMSU to win the WAC Tournament, but outside of that result, I will root for UTRGV the rest of the way.
02-08-2021 01:12 AM
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edinburger Offline
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RE: Lew Hill dead
This came out of nowhere. WACfan had some hints, but the man was coaching Saturday night in Houston and looked lively.
02-08-2021 08:21 AM
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CrimsonPhantom Offline
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RE: Lew Hill dead
Quote:RIO GRANDE VALLEY – The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) Department of Intercollegiate Athletics is shocked and saddened to announce that men's basketball head coach Lew Hill passed away on Sunday at the age of 55.

"Words cannot describe how any of us feel right now. Everyone in our department is devastated by this news," UTRGV Vice President and Director of Athletics Chasse Conque said. "Coach Hill was an incredible human being. He was my close friend and a trusted colleague. He cared deeply about those around him, from his family, to his players, to his staff and really, everyone in the department and at UTRGV. We offer our deepest condolences to Renee and Coach Hill's entire family during this unimaginable time."

"This is a tragic loss, not only for the UTRGV community but for the entire Rio Grande Valley community," UTRGV President Guy Bailey said. "Coach Hill was very involved in the community and always had a knack for making everyone he met feel special. On behalf of the entire university, we convey our heartfelt condolences to Coach Hill's family and friends. Please keep them in your thoughts in the following days."

Hill coached the Vaqueros on Saturday night in a 77-75 loss to Texas Southern in Houston. The cause of death is not known at this time.

Hill was the head coach at UTRGV for five seasons, taking over the program in 2016 and making five-win improvements in each of his first three years, culminating with a 20-win 2018-19 season that saw the Vaqueros win an NCAA Division I postseason games for the first time while hosting two rounds of the CIT. For his efforts, Hill was a finalist for the 2019 Ben Jobe Award, presented annually to the top minority coach in Division I men's basketball. In total, the Vaqueros made two postseason appearances under Hill, including an appearance in the 2018 CBI.

Hill's teams never quit, rallying back from seven double-digit deficits in 2018-19 and then, after starting the 2019-20 season 6-14, winning eight of their final 10 to earn the No. 2 seed in the Western Athletic Conference Tournament, the highest seed in program history.

The Vaqueros picked up right where they left of this season, going 8-4 under Hill. In total, the Vaqueros won 16 of Hill's final 22 games.

For his head coaching career, Hill won 67 games, the fifth-best total in program history.

Beyond basketball, Hill was passionate about bringing awareness to diabetes, personally leading the charge to host diabetes awareness nights at home basketball games.

He also believed greatly in giving back to the campus and the community. Hill was known for buying large amounts of breakfast tacos and walking to faculty staff offices around campus to deliver breakfast and thank his fellow UTRGV employees for their hard work and dedication. When UTRGV Athletics started a weekly story time series this past spring, Hill was the first employee to sign up, reading The Dinosaur Who Lived in My Back Yard with his daughter, Elle.

Hill often spoke out on issues of social justice, speaking to multiple media outlets in the wake of George Floyd's murder and again on the subject of the NBA and WNBA canceling games following the shooting of Jacob Blake. Hill was also a key part of round table discussions with The Monitor and Vaquero Radio as well as a healing circle that was open to all of campus.

Originally from Mount Vernon, N.Y., Hill was an All-State performer at Mount Vernon High School. He then went on to be an All-American point guard for San Jacinto Junior College, helping to lead the team to the 1984 NJCAA National Championship. He played his final two seasons at Wichita State, earning All-Missouri Valley Conference honors as a senior for helping to lead the Shockers to 20 wins and a berth in the 1988 NCAA Tournament.

Hill graduated with a bachelor's degree in criminal justice and played one season professionally in Germany before starting his coaching career at Wichita East High School in 1989-90. He moved up to the collegiate ranks as an assistant coach at South Alabama from 1990-92.

From there, Hill worked as an assistant coach at Southeast Missouri State (1992-94), East Carolina (1994-98) and Texas A&M (1998-03) before getting promoted to associate head coach at Texas A&M for the 2003-04 season.

Hill joined former Pan American University head coach Lon Kruger's coaching staff at UNLV as an assistant coach in 2004 and then went with Kruger to Oklahoma in 2011. In Hill's final season at Oklahoma, 2015-16, the Sooners reached the Final Four.

Hill is survived by his wife, Renee, their two children, Lewis Jr. (LJ) and Elle, and three other daughters, Sierra, Erica and Asya.

UTRGV is expected to name an acting head coach in the near future.

A determination as to the status of upcoming games will be made in the near future.

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02-08-2021 01:26 PM
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SoCalBobcat78 Offline
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Post: #13
RE: Lew Hill dead
Terrible news about Coach Hill. A good man and a good coach. His UTRGV teams competed and battled for forty minutes. He will be missed. Rest In Peace, Coach.
02-08-2021 03:05 PM
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CrimsonPhantom Offline
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RE: Lew Hill dead

02-08-2021 06:56 PM
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DZ1 Offline
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RE: Lew Hill dead
Awful awful news. RIP Coach Hill.
Will be cheering for UTRGV the rest of the season.
02-08-2021 06:56 PM
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CrimsonPhantom Offline
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RE: Lew Hill dead
Quote:When the team bus arrived back at campus around 3 a.m. Sunday, Renee Hill was parked there waiting for her husband. It had already been an emotional 24 hours for Lew Hill, men’s basketball coach at Texas Rio Grande Valley, with the Vaqueros losing on a last-second shot at Texas Southern in their first game in three weeks, followed by the difficult news Hill delivered to his players in the locker room after the game: He was stepping aside, effective immediately, to focus on his health.

On the 5½-hour bus ride back to campus, he phoned his athletic director to convey the same news and to ask for a meeting in the morning, which was Super Bowl Sunday. He didn’t sleep on the bus, even as Saturday night bled into Sunday morning.

The Hills, married for nearly 21 years, kissed each other as Lew bent his 6-foot-5 frame into the passenger seat. They talked on the ride home. Lew said he was tired. He showered and went to bed. Renee went to wake him around 8:30 a.m.

“It’s something you would never expect,” Renee Hill said in a telephone interview Wednesday, three days after her husband died, “when someone lays down to go to sleep and you go to wake him up the next morning and God has already whispered in his ear — and he couldn’t refuse. God needed him more than we did here on Earth.”

Hill’s death at 55 dealt a devastating blow to the school near the southern tip of Texas, about 20 miles north of the Mexican border, and to the collegiate basketball coaching community. Though a native of Mount Vernon, N.Y., Hill was best known and beloved in the southern Great Plains, having starred at Wichita State in the late 1980s and later serving as an assistant under Lon Kruger at UNLV and Oklahoma. He landed the top job at UTRGV in 2016.

“Lew represented the best of all we could want in our leaders,” Kruger said of his longtime assistant, who helped coach the Sooners to the Final Four in 2016, “and anyone working with young people in any walk.”

But Hill’s death also offered a sobering reminder of the possible health stakes involved in playing sports through a global pandemic.

In January, Hill received two sobering diagnoses. The first came after a nearly year-long search for what was causing chronic fatigue, including multiple trips to Houston to see various specialists. It was, doctors finally told him, a rare bone marrow disorder called amyloid light-chain (AL) amyloidosis, which causes organs and tissues to thicken and eventually lose function.

Then came the second diagnosis: the coronavirus. Upon receiving the positive test Jan. 22, Hill immediately began isolating at home, and the team, as so many others have this college hoops season, was put on hiatus for 10 days. It resumed practices Feb. 1.

Amid college basketball’s pandemic ‘mess,’ calls for pausing the season grow louder

School officials have not announced a cause of death. But Renee Hill is convinced it was the amyloidosis, not covid-19, that he appeared to have beaten. It was the amyloidosis that sometimes made it difficult for Lew Hill to walk around their block. He was due to begin treatment Monday, the day after he died.

“To the outside world, it’s easy for people to say it was the corona. No, it was not corona. There are people losing their life to corona,” she said. “It’s infuriating to me because people don’t know what he was going through. … His energy was sapping [from the amyloidosis]. It didn’t decrease more with covid.”

Renee Hill spoke to a reporter Wednesday, she said, because she hoped to use her husband’s death to raise awareness for Hill’s condition, which sees 4,500 new cases diagnosed every year, primarily affecting men ages 50-80, according to the Amyloidosis Foundation’s website.

“He’s smiling big knowing we are saving lives,” she said of her husband. “If you have a physical tomorrow, get tested for it. If you’re having bloodwork, have your doctor add that.”

But the proximity of Hill’s coronavirus diagnosis to his sudden death Sunday, plus the revelation of his underlying condition, naturally led those close to him to ponder the what-ifs surrounding his return to the bench and the decision to coach Saturday night’s game.

The Vaqueros were supposed to have played at home that night against Grand Canyon University, but GCU was forced to cancel because of its own coronavirus outbreak. The game at Texas Southern was thrown together Friday, about 30 hours before tip-off, when Texas Southern also had an opponent suddenly cancel because of the virus.

“Knowing the long road and journey he’s been on,” UTRGV Athletic Director Chasse Conque said in an interview, referring to Hill’s year-long search for a diagnosis, “a thousand thoughts go through your head. You run through all those scenarios — everything he’s been going through to better understand why he was so fatigued.”

Hill revealed to Conque the amyloidosis diagnosis Friday, sending Conque immediately to Google to better understand the condition. But he did not inform him of the decision to step away from coaching until the following night, on the bus ride home from Texas Southern.

Despite the painful loss, Conque said, Hill’s first words in that call were, “I had fun tonight.” But that was followed by: “Hey, boss. I’m going to need to step away for little bit and take care of myself.”

Conque said he frequently reminded Hill he didn’t have to be Superman. “If there was anything he needed to do for himself or his family, we’d have his back,” he said. “We were sold on Lew Hill. We wanted him here as long as he wanted to coach here.

“The way he coached, the way he loved, the way he treated those young men of his — there’s a void here today.”

On Feb. 4, Hill called one of his best friends from the driveway outside his house. Rickie Stanley, Hill’s former teammate at Mount Vernon High and now the assistant principal at the school, sensed something was wrong.

“This is my time to be outside,” Hill said from the driveway, according to Stanley’s recollection. “I’ve been stuck in hospitals and in my house, and now I’m just sitting out here in the sun.”

Hill texted Stanley a link for a live stream of Saturday night’s game, and Stanley watched on his computer, the first time he had laid eyes on his friend since November. “He looked like he had lost so much weight,” Stanley said. “I was saying, ‘Gosh, covid did that to him?’ He just had that look, like a guy who had a lost a lot of weight really rapidly. I could see he was sick. But of what, I didn’t know.”

Stanley couldn’t have imagined they would never speak again. “People sometimes embellish how great or how caring or how genuine someone was after they pass away,” Stanley said. “You don’t have to do that with Lew. He really was.”

During the Vaqueros’ 77-75 loss at Texas Southern that night — decided on a tip-in with less than a second remaining — Hill stayed seated for much of the game, but he became animated at times. Late in the first half, he was called for a technical foul for berating a referee. An assistant coach had to restrain Hill from going after the ref.

“Even if he didn’t feel his best — and I don’t know that, I’m just saying that — you want to go out there for your team,” said longtime friend John Cooper, Hill’s former Wichita State teammate and now an assistant coach at SMU. “This business is so competitive. You want to be out there. It’s your livelihood. You tell your guys, ‘You have to be tough and fight through adversity.’

“But this whole covid thing has thrown a wrench into everyone’s life. There are so any unknowns.”

According to his wife, Lew Hill’s decision to coach Saturday was easy. It was deciding to step away from the team immediately afterward that was difficult.

“That probably was one of the hardest decisions we’ve ever had to make,” Renee Hill said. “I tell people all the time: My husband can give you the Xs and Os from the 1970s, but he can’t remember what day the trash goes out. Basketball was his life. He was like a walking basketball encyclopedia. We’d go on vacation, and I’d have to force him: ‘Can I please have a couple hours of undivided attention without your phone?’ He’d be on the beach, scribbling on a napkin he found, drawing up Xs and Os.”

Renee Hill excused herself from the phone call to admire a bouquet of flowers their daughter Elle, age 11, had just received from a classmate. “They’re so beautiful,” she whispered. The Hills also have a 16-year-old son, Lewis Jr., and three adult children. They will be looking to her for strength now, but so will she to them.

“He was not just my husband,” she said. “He was my best friend. My everything. Honestly, I don’t know what I’m going to do without him. I still have two kids to raise, and every time I look at them I see his face.”

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02-12-2021 01:06 PM
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SDHornet Offline
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RE: Lew Hill dead
Tragic loss.
02-15-2021 02:43 PM
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Itinerant Texan Offline
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RE: Lew Hill dead
RIP Coach
02-19-2021 09:42 PM
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