Montclair Athletics: MSU Hall of Fame football, baseball coach Fred Hill dies at 84
PHOTO COURTESY OF PROUT FUNERAL HOME
by Andrew Garda
Fred Hill Sr., the legendary baseball coach at Rutgers University who also spent seven years as both football and baseball coach at Montclair State University, died on Saturday, March 2. He was 84.
He was laid to rest on Wednesday, March 6 with services at Our Lady of the Lake Church in Verona.
Hill arrived at MSU in the fall of 1976 to take over the football and baseball programs following the retirement of former Montclair High School legend Clary Anderson, who had been the coach of both teams since the 1969-70 school year.
Hill compiled a 52-16-4 record (33-4-1 conference record) as the Red Hawks football coach, winning four New Jersey Atheltic Conference championships in seven years, including the 1978 and 1979 seasons with future NFL standout Sam Mills at linebacker.
In his final two seasons, 1981 and 1982, Montclair State boasted a combined record of 18-2-2, including a trip to the NCAA Division III semifinals in 1981. The program’s most recent unbeaten season came under Hill in 1982, when Montclair went 8-0-2.
As good as he was on the gridiron, Hill was equally effective on the baseball diamond, compiling a 148-91-2 record (58-20 in conference) overall record from 1977 to 1983. Montclair State advanced to three NCAA Tournaments, reaching the Regionals in 1978 and 1982 and advancing to the Division III College World Series in 1983.
The coach was inducted into Montclair State’s Hall of Fame in 1990, and his No. 24 jersey was retired by the school in 2010, joining MSU legends Mills and Carol Blazejowski as the only athletes to receive that honor.
Hill left Montclair State in 1983 to become the head baseball coach at Rutgers, where he cemented his status as one of the state’s all-time great coaches over the following three decades.
Rutgers won 941 games in 30 seasons under Hill, reaching 11 NCAA Tournaments. The Scarlet Knights won eight Atlantic-10 Conference titles and four league championships in the Big East Conference under Hill’s tutelage, and the coach himself earned four conference Coach of the Year honors, three in the A-10.
Upon his retirement in 2014, Hill ranked 11th in the history of NCAA baseball with 1,089 career wins. He was inducted into the American Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame the year after his retirement.
Hill is survived by Evelyn, his wife of 62 years, his siblings, Monica Conte and Brian Hill, and his children Nancy Apisa, Freddie Hill, Linda Boyd, Jimmy Hill, Tracey Hill and Karen Jandol,i as well as many grandchildren.