RIO GRANDE VALLEY, Texas (ValleyCentral) – The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) Department of Intercollegiate Athletics announced that the men’s basketball team will dedicate the 2021-22 season to their former head coach Lew Hill, who passed away on Feb. 7 at the age of 55.
The team also plans to wear shooting shirts during pre-game warmups that feature the number three, which was Hill’s number when he played in college, as well as the name “Hill” on the back of the shirts.
UTRGV men’s basketball head coach Matt Figger said he will leave the first seat on the bench open for Hill, as part of the dedication to his memory.
UTRGV mens basketball head coach Matt Figger
“I think it’s important to honor Coach Hill as a person and as a coach,” Figger said in a press release from UTRGV. “What he did for this university and how he was able to establish an identity for the program was phenomenal. I think it’s very important for [Lew’s widow,] Renee, and the children that we celebrate his life, and the best way we can do that is by dedicating the season to him, leaving the first chair on the bench open for him, and wearing his college number on our shooting shirts. I think that way we’ve got a little bit of Lew with all of us. Hopefully, I’ll be leaning on him for some guidance throughout the season. I also want to thank Renee and the family for all the support and kindness they’ve given me since I’ve gotten here. That means a lot to me, and I want to convey my thanks to her.”
UTRGV is also planning a Lew Hill Tribute Night, that will take place at 7 p.m. on Feb. 2 at the UTRGV Fieldhouse when the team hosts Lamar.
Renee Hill and UTRGV worked together to establish the Lew Hill Memorial Fund, in which 100% of donations go towards scholarships for UTRGV students.
UTRGV will open the regular season on Nov. 9 against Texas A&M International at the UTRGV Fieldhouse.