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Fred Hill

Sport: Baseball & Football

Born: July 15, 1934

Died: March 2, 2019

Town: East Orange

Frederick Hill was born July 15, 1934 in East Orange. Fred stood just 5’7” but he was quick and coordinated. He played shortstop for Clifford Scott High School, and also starred as a back for the football team and a guard for the basketball team. He was 13 when his younger brother, Bob was born. Bob Hill became a basketball coach and would lead the Orlando Magic to the 1995 NBA Finals.

Fred received a football scholarship from Villanova but knew within days that it was not for him. Instead, he enrolled at Upsala College a few minutes from his family home and earned small college All-America recognition as a senior. He graduated with four varsity letters in football and baseball, and three in basketball.

After graduation, Fred signed a minor-league contract with the Washington Senators, who shipped him to their Class-D club in Superior in the Nebraska State League. He batted .276 during the 1957 season and was third on the team in hits. He roomed with 19-yearold Jim Kaat during the season. In 1958, Jim was promoted to Class-C Missoula, where he played for Jack McKeon. Things didn’t go well there and he was demoted to the Fort Walton Beach Jets in the Alabama-Florida League. He hit better there, but realized that making the majors was an unrealistic dream. With a new wife and growing family, it was time to think about coaching.

Fred would continue to play semipro ball in New Jersey for many years, but now it was time to focus on a coaching career. He began as the freshman baseball coach at Upsala before becoming a football coach at Clifford Scott—five as an assistant and six as head coach. He coached briefly at Pequannock High before landing the head coaching job for Montclair State’s football and baseball teams in 1977. In seven seasons at MSU, he went 52–16–4 in football (including four league championships) and 148–91–2 in baseball. He coached a freshman named Sam Mills in his final year.

Fred began coaching at Rutgers in 1984. He was hired specifically for baseball. Over the next three decades, the man his players called “Moose” he led the Scarlet Knights to 12 first-place finishes and eight conference tournament championships. Rutgers qualified for the NCAA Regionals 11 times. Twenty of Fred’s players earned All-America recognition and a dozen—including Eric Young, David DeJesus and Todd Frazier—made it to the majors. Fred was named Atlantic 10 Coach of the Year each year between 1991 and 1993 and was Big East Coach of the Year in 1998. In 37 college baseball seasons, he won 1,089 games. During the early 2000s, Fred’s son, Fred Jr., coached the Rutgers basketball team for four seasons.

After retiring from Rutgers in 2013, Fred worked as a baseball assistant for Caldwell University and Kean University before he passed away on March 2, 2019. He was elected to the American Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2014.

 

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