Bradenton, Fla - Former State College of Florida head baseball coach Tim Hill Sr. died Friday morning in Lakeland, Florida. He was 71 years old.
"Coach Hill passed away peacefully at his Lakeland home," said Matt Ennis, Athletic Director. "The family appreciates your thoughts and prayers." Services are scheduled for 11:00 am January 6th at State College of Florida's Robert C. Wynn Field. A reception will follow for those attending the service.
Coach Tim Hill Sr. came to the college in 1978 to serve as an assistant coach to the program's founding coach Robert C. Wynn. Hill assumed the head coach role for the then Lancers and served in this post until his retirement after the 2012 season. In his 31 seasons as head coach, Hill lead the baseball program to a 1109-484 record. He is recognized as the winningest coach in the history of Florida College System Activities Association (FCSAA) baseball. The Manatees captured 17 conference titles, seven state titles, made five trips to the World Series, and captured three top-three national tournament finishes since Hill assumed the program’s reins.
The crowning achievement in Hill’s coaching career came in 2005, when he was inducted into the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Baseball Hall of Fame during ceremonies at the national Division I JUCO tournament in Grand Junction, Colo. Hill also was a member of the inaugural class of inductees into the SCF Athletic Hall of Fame in 2006. In October 2000, Hill was also inducted into the FCSAA Hall of Fame.
In 1991, 1994, 1999 and 2010, Hill was honored by the Florida Diamond Club as the state’s junior college “Coach of the Year.” Hill received the Louisville Slugger Award as Florida’s top junior college coach in 1994, 1999, 2002 and 2010. He was the Florida College System Activities Association “Coach of the Year” in 1982, 1991, 1994, 1999, 2002 and 2010. He also received regional “Coach of the Year” awards from both Rawlings and Diamond Sporting Goods in 2002 and 2010. Hill wins with style and grace, as epitomized by his being named as the 1999 recipient of the NJCAA Alpine Bank JUCO World Series Sportsmanship Award.
Indicative of the level on which Hill has kept the baseball team since assuming the head coaching reins in 1982 is the fact that 293 of his former players have moved on to four-year schools and 202 of his former players have been selected in the Major League Baseball Draft. A major portion of that group (145) have earned a spot on pro rosters and 17 have advanced to the major-league level. Hill stepped into some big shoes when he succeeded Bob Wynn as head coach in 1982. As his record of success clearly shows, the fit was perfect. Taking over the leadership of a program that had produced seven state championships in 24 seasons prior, Hill met the challenge head-on.
Greater than all his accolades however, Hill considered winning off the field equally as important as winning on the field. He molded young men to be leaders equipped for the game of life and considered the relationships he built with his players throughout the years to be his true crowning achievement. Former player and member of the 1999 JUCO World Series team, Chris Seaton said, "Seven and his family have always treated us players like we were their own. He taught us the value of hard work, dedication, responsibility, and most importantly having faith in the Lord." He leaves behind a legacy that will not soon be forgotten.