But because Hill has the recruiting ability and Jersey background to succeed at Rutgers, there is great hope that he is right guy for RU. Many hope Hill’s experience, dedication and connections will lead to success.
It is no secret that Hill’s greatest talent is his knack for recruiting and ability to relate to players. Hill has been reeling in big time players for years at his various coaching positions along the east coast. At Villanova, he helped bring in the likes of Randy Foye and Allan Ray, two players who led the Wildcats to Elite Eight this season. Foye has been quoted as saying that he would have gone to school “wherever [Fred Hill Jr.] was, even Rutgers.” Before coaching at Villanova, Hill recruited the #1 rated class at rival Seton Hall.
The key to Hill’s recruiting success are his great relationships with state and metropolitan area coaches. While Gary Waters had his roots in Ohio and the Midwest, Hill is a 100% Jersey guy. Born and raised in the Garden State, he was the team captain at Verona High School and an “overachieving” All-Conference guard Montclair State. After his playing career ended, Hill has held various assistant coaching positions at his alma mater as well as other in-state schools such as FDU, Rider and the Hall.
Undoubtedly, Waters hired Hill as an assistant specifically for Hill’s connections in the east coast. “Fred is truly one of the finest and hardest-working assistant coaches in the nation,” Waters said at the time of Hill’s hire. “He has two decades of deep relationships with countless high school and AAU coaches in the metropolitan area and across the country.”
In addition to his connection to Jersey, Hill has a strong association with Rutgers as well. His father, Fred Hill Sr., is the head baseball coach at RU and it has always been the dream of Hill Jr. to follow his father’s footsteps and coach at Rutgers. So, there is no doubt that he has the passion and desire required to be the one to lead a historically mediocre Rutgers basketball program to greater success.
Looking ahead to Hill’s first year at Rutgers, the future is bright. Hill will have two Big East All-freshmen in Anthony Farmer and JR. Inman, as well as defensive stopper Marquis Webb returning. Big men Ollie Bailey, Byron Joynes and Dan Waterstradt also return (barring transfer) and the Knights get Courtney Nelson, who sat out this year after transferring from Richmond. Nelson should join the rotation as a guard.
However, even before the 2006-07 campaign begins, Hill has two extremely important tasks in front of him. First, he must assure that star Quincy Douby will stick around for his senior season. Douby has said he will not enter the NBA draft, but nothing is set in stone. Second, Hill has to put his recruiting magic to work and get St. Benedict’s Prep forward Lance Thomas to commit to Rutgers, over Duke.
That being said, Fred Hill Jr. is exactly what Rutgers needs: a hard-working Jersey guy with Jersey connections and a dream to take Rutgers to the promised land.
Fred Hill Jr. Profile
Birthdate: March 26, 1959
Hometown: Verona, N.J.
Alma Mater: Montclair State College (’81)
Assistant Coach, Montclair State (1981-82)
Assistant Coach, Lehigh University (1982-83)
Assistant Coach, Rider College (1983-86)
Assistant Coach, Marquette University (1986-88)
Assistant Coach, University of Maine (1988-91)
Assistant Coach, Fairleigh Dickinson University (1991-95)
Associate Head Coach, Fairleigh Dickinson University (1995-98)
Assistant Coach, Seton Hall University (1998-2001)
Assistant Coach, Villanova University (2001-2003)
Associate Head Coach, Villanova University (2003-2005)
Associate Head Coach, Rutgers University (2005-2006)