A coaching icon to baseball enthusiasts in the region, Fred Hill recently completed his 30th season at the helm of the Rutgers baseball program in 2013. After inheriting the program back in 1984, the baseball mentor has brought the Scarlet Knights to an elite status that includes 11 NCAA Tournament appearances, 12 regular season conference championships, eight conference tournament titles and more than 900 victories during his tenure in Piscataway. Hill’s players learn the game and progress under the veteran coach’s tutelage. They develop into superior athletes on the diamond, as evidenced by the more than 60 players Hill has seen go on to play professional baseball under his guidance.
Hill became the 16th active Division I head baseball coach to earn 1,000 victories with a win against USF on April 17, 2010 in front of record crowd of 1,124 fans at Bainton Field. The veteran baseball mentor entered 2013 ranked 13th amongst active coaches in the nation with 1,061 career wins and finished the season with 1,089.
Beginning his 38th season in collegiate coaching in 2014, Hill remains as focused, committed and enthusiastic as he was back in 1984. That year, he accepted the challenge of coaching a team that was coming off a 13-22 record in 1983 and had not appeared in the NCAA Tournament in 14 years and proceeded to build Rutgers baseball into what it is today.
Last season, Hill guided the Scarlet Knights to the semifinals of the BIG EAST Championships with two wins facing elimination. The team defeated College World Series participant Louisville in three-of-four meetings, including a 9-1 victory in the postseason. Three players earned BIG EAST honors, with three others singing professional contracts following the season. The program raised over $13,500 towards the Vs. Cancer Foundation off the field.
2012 saw Rutgers earn its 19th 30-win season under Hill, earning a spot in the BIG EAST Tournament. The team had four players voted All-BIG EAST, including BIG EAST Player of the Year Patrick Kivlehan. In addition, Kivlehan became the 19th player to become an All-American under Hill after winning the first BIG EAST league triple crown in history.
The 2010 team reached the BIG EAST semifinals in Clearwater, Fla.
After capturing the league regular-season and tournament titles in 2007, Hill’s 2008 squad was presented the challenge of replacing six of its eight position starters. Hill’s team rose to the challenge, however, with 23 victories while continuing its ever-growing representation of Scarlet Knights in professional baseball when two members – Tom Edwards and Vic Cegles – signed professional contracts in the summer following the 2008 campaign.
Hill, the 2007 ABCA East Region Coach of the Year, led the Scarlet Knights to both the BIG EAST Regular Season and Tournament Championship – the third time in a 10-year span he guided his club to both titles in the same season. Hill’s 2007 squad tied the school record for wins in a season with 42 and earned a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Charlottesville Regional – the 13th NCAA Tournament berth in his amazing coaching career.
After enduring a losing season as the first-year coach in 1984 (13-21), Hill began to re-establish the Scarlet Knights as a northeast baseball power with a 25-15 mark in 1985, which preceded a 28-18 mark in 1986 and the first of eight-straight Atlantic 10 regular season championships. That season, Rutgers also captured its first Atlantic 10 tournament title and returned to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1970, one of 11 appearances under Hill. A 36-14-1 record in 1987, which set a school record for wins and winning percentage (.716) at the time, was the first of seven-straight 30-win seasons for the Scarlet Knights - a stretch that lasted until 1993 and completed the run of eight-straight league titles. In 1990, when RU posted a 37-19 mark and won the fourth of its seven-straight league titles, the team came within one win of advancing to the College World Series, falling to eventual National Champion Georgia in the tournament final in Waterbury, Conn.
A move to the BIG EAST Conference in 1996 had little impact on the Scarlet Knights, as the winning continued. Following back-to-back tournament appearances in 1996 and 1997, Rutgers captured both the regular season and tournament championship in 1998, posting a 33-16 mark along the way and advancing to the NCAA Regional at Tallahassee, Fla. The Scarlet Knights scrapped their way out of the losers' bracket during the conference tournament and beat Notre Dame twice in as many days, including a 12-0 championship game win, to clinch the title.
The following season, Rutgers finished 37-21, second in the BIG EAST, and took another step in the national picture with the program's first-ever at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament (the six previous trips came from an automatic berth associated with winning the league championship). RU was sent to Lubbock, Texas to compete in the NCAA Regional with Texas Tech, Wisconsin-Milwaukee and No. 1 Rice.
The 2000 season featured another step in the building of the program, as RU once again captured the BIG EAST Regular Season and Tournament championships, posting its first 40-win season (40-18) along the way. In the BIG EAST Championship title game, then-freshman Bobby Brownlie, working on three-days rest, led RU to a 1-0 win with a complete-game shutout of in-state rival Seton Hall. Ranked as high as No. 14 nationally during the course of the season, Rutgers was selected to host an NCAA Regional at Yogi Berra Stadium in Upper Montclair, N.J., joined by UNC, Penn State and Army.
The 2001 team set the school win mark once again, finishing the year 42-17, with a second-place finish in the BIG EAST. Another at-large NCAA Tournament berth, the program's fourth-straight trip, sent the team to Lincoln, Neb., where RU came within one win of moving onto the Super Regional round.
A 35-22 mark and a trip to the BIG EAST Tournament finals was not good enough in 2002, but RU returned to the NCAA Tournament in 2003 after winning the BIG EAST Regular Season Championship and advancing to the BIG EAST Championship game for the second-straight season. Hill’s teams won over 90 games from 2004 through 2006, reaching the semifinals of the 2006 BIG EAST Championship.
A long-time high school coach in New Jersey, Hill began his collegiate coaching career in 1977 at Montclair State University, serving as the head baseball and football coach for the Red Hawks. In seven seasons at Montclair State, Hill posted a 148-91-2 mark, leading his team to two NJAC Championships and three NCAA tournament appearances, including the Division III World Series in 1983. (The following season, Hill's first at Rutgers, Montclair State won the national championship with many of his players still in the program.) Just as successful on the gridiron, Hill led the MSU football program to a 55-13-4 record in seven seasons, including five NJAC titles. His team lost just one league contest in a five-year span from 1978 through 1982. A true representation of his successful contribution to the Montclair State program, the school’s athletic department retired his No. 24 jersey in February of 2010 – only the third number retired in school history.
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.
Hill lives in Verona, N.J., with his wife of more than 55 years, Evelyn. They are the proud parents of six children: Nancy, Fred, Linda, Jim, Tracey and Karen. They also have nine grandchildren: Jessica, Danielle, Brian, James, Natalie, Nicholas, Alexandra, Giselle and Giancarlo. A coaching-rich family, Fred's brother Brian is currently an assistant coach for the NBA’s Detroit Pistons, and his son, Fred, served as the head coach of the Rutgers men’s basketball program for four seasons through the 2009-10 season.
- Hill is entering his 38th year as a collegiate head coach and his 31st season with the Scarlet Knights as the 13th winningest active head coach in the nation.
- He owns a 941-658-7 record at Rutgers and a 1,068-749-9 record as a collegiate head coach, coaching his whole career in the northeast.
- He has averaged 31.5 wins per season at Rutgers. 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.
- Rutgers has been ranked nationally for at least one week in nine of the last 15 seasons, including a high mark of 14th during the 2000 season.
- As a member of the Atlantic 10 from 1984 through 1996, he guided his team to eight-straight A-10 regular season championships and five tournament championships.
- Not only do Hill's teams win titles, they also win in regular season play; he has just five losing seasons in 35 years of collegiate coaching.
- Hill's teams have advanced to the NCAA Tournament in six of the last 15 years, winning the BIG EAST Regular Season and Conference Championships in 1998, 2000 and 2007 as well as the regular season crown in 2003.
- In addition to putting winning teams on the field, Hill has developed some of the top players in the country, sending 33 players onto professional baseball in the last 10 years and 69 since Hill took over the program. In 2002 - two of his players, Bobby Brownlie and Val Majewksi - were among the top 100 players selected. In 2004, Rutgers had five more players sign professional contracts, including third-round draft pick Jeff Frazier (Detroit Tigers). In 2007, Rutgers had a record six players drafted, including first-round selection Todd Frazier (Cincinnati Reds). Two former players under Hill - David DeJesus (Chicago Cubs) and Frazier - were regulars at the Major League level last season. In 2012, Patrick Kivlehan was selected in the fourth round (Seattle Mariners), while Michael Lang (Arizona Diamondbacks) and Ryan Fasano (Milwaukee Brewers) signed contracts as free agents. Rob Smorol signed with the Boston Red Sox organization after the 2013 season.
- From his 2000 squad, which won the BIG EAST Regular Season and Tournament Championship and served as the host of the NCAA Regional at Upper Montclair, 18 players went on to play professionally, including three Major Leaguers and a first-round draft choice.
- Hill began his collegiate career at Montclair State University where, in 1977, he was named head baseball and football coach. In his career with Montclair State, he developed the baseball team into a Division III national power, winning 62 percent of his games and earning a trip to the Division III World Series (Hill was named Division III National Coach of the Year in 1983). His number 24 jersey was retired by the program in February 2010.
At Montclair State University
1977 17-12-0 .587
1978 21-12-0 .636 NJAC Champion NCAA
1979 17-15-0 .531
1980 19-14-0 .576 NJAC Champion
1981 18-10-0 .643
1982 25-14-1 .638 NCAA
1983 31-14-1 .685 NCAA World Series
TOTAL 148-91-2 .618
At Rutgers University
1984 13-21-0 .382
1985 25-15-0 .625
1986 28-18-0 .609 A-10 RS/Tour. Champ. NCAA
1987 36-14-1 .716 A-10 RS Champ.
1988 38-21-1 .642 A-10 RS/Tour. Champ. NCAA
1989 34-19-0 .642 A-10 RS Champ.
1990 37-19-0 .660 A-10 RS/Tour. Champ. NCAA
1991 33-24-2 .576 A-10 RS/Tour. Champ. NCAA
1992 32-17-0 .653 A-10 RS
1993 38-17-0 .691 A-10 RS/Tour. Champ. NCAA
1994 28-19-0 .596
1995 28-29-0 .491
1996 32-21-1 .602
1997 28-24-0 .538
1998 33-16-0 .673 BE RS/Tour. Champ. NCAA
1999 37-21-0 .657 NCAA
2000 40-18-0 .690 BE RS/Tour. Champ. NCAA
2001 42-17-0 .712 NCAA
2002 35-22-0 .614
2003 37-22-0 .627 BE RS Champ. NCAA
2004 30-23-0 .567
2005 32-21-0 .604
2006 29-28-1 .509
2007 42-21-0 .667 BE RS/Tour. Champ NCAA
2008 23-29-1 .443
2009 22-31-0 .415
2010 30-26-0 .536
2011 20-30-0 .400
2012 31-25-0 .554
2013 28-30-0 .483
TOTAL 941-658-7 .588
CAREER 1,089-749-9 .592