PISCATAWAY, N.J. (Sept. 2, 2014) – Legendary Rutgers head coach Fred Hill has been elected to the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) Hall of Fame, the organization announced. Hill retired from coaching in February with 1,089 career victories at the collegiate level over 37 years, including 941 in 30 seasons leading the Scarlet Knights.
Rebuilding the Rutgers program into a Northeast power, he earned 11 NCAA Regional appearances, 12 regular season conference championships and eight conference tournament titles during his tenure in Piscataway. The official induction ceremony will take place January 2015 at the annual ABCA Convention in Orlando.
“This a great honor, but it would not be possible without the terrific players and coaches I have had the chance to work with over the years,” Hill said. “I also would like to thank my wife, Evelyn, and my family. They have supported me through it all.”
“I couldn't be happier for coach Hill,” current head coach Joe Litterio said. “He has molded so many lives during his career and I don't know of a more deserving man for this honor. I have been blessed to have been able to play for him and coach with him. We are all very fortunate to have learned from him the right way to go about our business no matter the situation.”
During his career, Hill sent 73 players to professional baseball and developed 20 All-Americans. Currently, Todd Frazier of the Cincinnati Reds and David DeJesus of the Tampa Bay Rays represent Rutgers in Major League Baseball. Jason Bergmann, Angel Echevarria, Jack Egbert, Jeff Frazier, Val Majewski, Rob McDonald, Darrin Winston, Eric Young and Pete Zoccolillo also spent time in the big leagues to make it a total of 11 to reach the highest level after playing for Hill.
After a successful career as a high school coach in New Jersey, Hill made the jump up to the collegiate level in 1977 at Montclair State. He led the Red Hawks to a 148-91-2 mark in seven seasons, including two NJAC championships, three NCAA Tournament appearances and the Division III World Series in 1983. Hill was also the football coach and went 55-13-4 in the seven years with five NJAC titles. 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.
Hill next decided to make the move to Piscataway in 1984 to become the 11th head coach in Rutgers baseball history. Raising the scope of the program, he won eight straight Atlantic 10 regular season titles starting in 1986 to advance RU to the NCAA Tournament five times in that stretch.
Hill continued that success after the program moved to the BIG EAST and became the second-winningest coach in conference history, with 267 victories in the league over 19 seasons. His first championship in the BIG EAST came in 1998 as he earned Coach of the Year honors and won both the regular season and tournament title. That started a stretch of five NCAA berths in six years that included hosting an NCAA Regional in 2000, a rarity for a Northeast school.
The 2007 team was among the best for Hill, as it tied the school record with 42 wins and won both the BIG EAST regular season and tournament titles. Named ABCA East Region Coach of the Year, Hill and the Scarlet Knights earned the No. 2 seed in the Charlottesville Regional. A school-record six players off that team were selected in the ensuing MLB Draft.
Rutgers Athletics honored Hill by retiring his No. 24 in a May 10 ceremony at Bainton Field in front of family, friends, program alums and many others. The department also plans on a celebration during the homecoming football game Nov. 1 at High Point Solutions Stadium, while a dinner will be held the following night at Mayfair Farms in West Orange, N.J.