Montclair State to Retire Fred Hill's No. 24

Montclair, NJ (1/20/10) – Former Montclair State baseball coach Fred Hill will receive one of the highest honors in the Red Hawk athletic department as his No. 24 becomes just the third in school history to be retired on Saturday, February 13 at the Mayfair Farms in West Orange, NJ beginning at 5:30 pm. The number retirement will be part of the baseball program’s “First-Pitch Dinner”.

Hill’s joins Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame member Carol Blazejowski (12) and College Football Hall of Fame inductee Sam Mills (62) as the only persons to have that distinction bestowed upon them.

Tickets for the event are $45.00. For further information, please contact the MSU Diamond Club at (973) 668-2560 or via e-mail at cjpol104@yahoo.com.

“There’s no one more deserving of this honor than Coach Hill,” said current MSU head coach Norm Schoenig. “For all that he has done, not only at Montclair State but the influence he has had on the many players and coaches in collegiate baseball throughout his career.” 

Hill spent seven seasons (1977-83) as the head coach of the then-Indians compiling an impressive 148-92-1 mark (.619 winning percentage) turning Montclair State into a perennial Division III power. He won three New Jersey Athletic Conference championships and the program’s first three NCAA Division III Tournament appearances culminating in Montclair’s first trip to the NCAA Division III World Series in 1983. Hill was chosen as the American Baseball Coaches Association Mid-Atlantic Regional Coach of the Year. In addition he spent seven seasons as Montclair State’s football coach where he posted a 52-16-4 mark that included four NJAC titles and a berth in the NCAA Division III Playoff semifinals in 1981.

After an inaugural 17-12 mark in 1977, Hill led Montclair State to the conference championship the next season as well as the NCAA Division III South Atlantic Regional. In 1980, Montclair again won the NJAC championship this time in dramatic fashion. After splitting the first two games of the league championship series against two-time defending national champion Glassboro State, Tony Sabato belted a two-run homer to lift Montclair to a 5-4 victory in the deciding game.

The 1982 season saw Montclair qualify for the NCAA Division III Tournament and in 1983 Hill’s club put together the finest season for a Montclair State squad. Winning a school record 31 games (31-14-1), the Indians went 10-2 in the NJAC but lost to William Paterson in the championship series. The following week, Montclair would gain a measure of revenge against the Pioneers in the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional Tournament. After Montclair had won the first two games in the regional, William Paterson forced a winner-take-all contest with a 12-7 win on the final day. The Pioneers were poised to repeat their performance however Andy Cuomo blasted a three-run homer with two out in the bottom of the ninth for a 9-7 win sending Montclair to the Division III World Series in Marietta, Ohio.

Hill moved on to become the head baseball coach at Rutgers University in 1984 and will begin his 27th season at the helm of the Scarlet Knight program in 2010 and 34th overall as a head coach. In his more than a quarter-century career at RU, Hill has compiled a 980-638-9 record (.605) while averaging 32 victories per season. 
Under Hill’s direction, Rutgers has won eight conference championships including BIG EAST crowns in 1998, 2000, 2003 and 2007. He was the first coach in BIG EAST history to win both the regular season and tournament championship in the same season (1998, 2000, 2007), despite only joining the conference in 1996.

“Rick Giancola (current MSU head football coach) and I would like to thank Coach Hill for giving us the opportunity to teach, coach and mentor student-athletes,” said Schoenig. “Hopefully we will continue to represent Coach Hill’s principles and values in a positive manner.”

As a collegiate star at Upsala, Hill earned 11 varsity letters. Four letters came in baseball, where he led the team in batting twice. Four more came in football, where he led the team in rushing four times and was named the football team's Most Valuable Back three times. Three more letters came in basketball, where he was voted Most Improved Player his senior year. Chosen as a Small College All-American following his final football season, Hill was honored by his alma mater in 1992 as a distinguished alumnus who has achieved excellence in his chosen profession. Following his outstanding collegiate career, Hill moved onto a professional career in the Washington Senators organization before beginning his storied coaching career.

He began his coaching career as freshman baseball coach at Upsala while also playing semi-pro baseball for the East Orange Soverals. His next move was to Clifford Scott High School, where he was an assistant baseball coach for five years and head coach for another six. During those six years, Hill led the Scotties to a 94-58 record, two state sectional championships, and also served time as an assistant football coach. He moved on to coach the Pequannock High School football team for four years and then returned to Upsala as an assistant baseball coach for three more seasons.