Texas Border Business
INDIANAPOLIS – The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) Department of Intercollegiate Athletics announced on Friday that men’s basketball coach Lew Hill, who passed away tragically on Feb. 7 at the age of 55, and his family will be present at the Men’s Final Four as cardboard cutouts in the first available row of section 118 of Lucas Oil Stadium.
The cutouts are featured, from left-to-right, with his youngest daughter, Elle (11), Coach Hill, his wife, Renee, his son, LJ (16), and his older daughters Sierra (34), Erica (33) and Asya (28).
Fans can be on the lookout for the Hill family during games on CBS on Saturday at 4:14 p.m. (Baylor vs. Houston) and 7:34 (Gonzaga vs. UCLA) as well as during the national championship game on Monday at 8:20.
“Being at the Final Four this year is extra special,” Renee Hill said. “Lewis hadn’t missed one in over 25 years. Being able to experience it one more time, all together, means the world to me this year. I want to thank the NCAA for this gift. I know Lewis is smiling big and cheering loud.”
Hill earned three major awards after the regular season ended, as he was the unanimous selection for WAC Coach of the Year, an NABC District 6 Co-Coach of the Year, and the Skip Prosser Man of the Year.
Before his passing, Hill coached the Vaqueros to an 8-4 record, including a 2-0 mark in WAC play. The Vaqueros won their WAC opener over Dixie State by 33 points, the largest margin of victory in a conference game in program history. After sweeping Dixie State to improve to 8-3, Coach Hill had his team off to their best start since 2001-02.
The Vaqueros went 6-4 in non-conference play, including their largest-ever margin of victory over UTSA, 81-64 on Nov. 28, and a sweep of Texas A&M-Corpus Christi in the South Texas Showdown, presented by Navy Army Community Credit Union.
After Coach Hill’s final game on Feb. 6, UTRGV ranked third in the NCAA and first in the WAC in three-point percentage defense (25.7%), third in the NCAA and first in the WAC in offensive rebounds per game (14.42), fifth in the NCAA and first in the WAC in turnovers forced per game (18.33), eighth in the NCAA in first in the WAC in total rebounding (41.25), 14th in the NCAA and first in the WAC in steals per game (9.1), 19th in the NCAA and second in the WAC in turnover margin (3.9), and 26th in the NCAA and second in the WAC in field goal percentage defense (39.7%).