Former UTRGV coach’s family gives memorial fund to student scholarships

Local Sports

EDINBURG, Texas (KVEO) — The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley Department of Intercollegiate Athletics announced on Wednesday they are dedicating 100% of the donations to the Lew Hill Memorial Fund to scholarships for UTRGV students.

The scholarship will be awarded every year as the Lew Hill Memorial Fund has raised enough money to reached endowed status.

“We are deeply appreciative of the Hill family for their selflessness in extending this scholarship opportunity to the entire campus community,” UTRGV Executive Vice President for Institutional Advancement Dr. Kelly Scrivner Nassour said. “We also want to thank everyone who gave in support of the Lew Hill Memorial Fund. His memory will live on forever because of our wonderful donors.”

All students at UTRGV will be eligible to apply for the Lew Hill Memorial Endowed Scholarship. The UTRGV scholarship committee shall determine the number of scholarships each year based on available distributions.

Renee Hill, Coach Hill’s widow, shared her feelings about the decision.

“I want to thank everyone who has given and will give in the future,” said Hill. “This is more than just a one-time thing. There will be different students in need every year and this is a way to help them. Lew and I were always very big into education and that is why we wanted this scholarship to be open to all people, regardless of socio-economic background. I pray it will continue to grow and increase because philanthropy is who we are. We’ve always given a lot. Lew was more than a coach. He was an incredible human being and the man he was will continue to live on through this scholarship. This scholarship is a way of planting seeds that will continue to grow.”

Donations are still being collected to benefit the Lew Hill Memorial Fund. Additionally, Lew Hill memorial t-shirts are on sale at UTRGVGear.com, with a portion of the proceeds benefiting the Lew Hill Memorial Fund.

“We are thankful to Renee and the entire Hill family for this incredible gesture,” UTRGV Vice President and Director of Athletics Chasse Conque said. “Coach Hill cared deeply about our entire campus community. Creating a scholarship that can benefit any student at UTRGV is a wonderful way to honor Coach Hill’s legacy.”

Moving forward, UTRGV Men’s Basketball Head Coach Matt Figger wants to continue honoring the legacy of Coach Hill by doing things the right way on and off the court.

“Lew is a guy who I always considered my friend,” Figger said. “We’re going to honor Coach Hill every game we play, every time we lace up our shoes, and every time we take the court. He will be there with us in the locker room, on the court, and on the bench. This season is dedicated to Coach Lew Hill. We’re going to fight our tails off and represent him the right way.”

Hill earned three major awards after the 2020-21 regular season ended. He was the unanimous selection for WAC Coach of the Year, the 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%).

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