EDINBURG, Texas (KVEO) – CollegeInsider.com announced on Thursday that The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) men’s basketball coach Lew Hill, who passed away tragically on Feb. 7 at the age of 55, is the Skip Prosser Man of the Year, an award given annually to those who not only achieve success on the basketball court but who display moral integrity off the floor as well.
“We are also so happy to see Coach Hill honored this way,” UTRGV Vice President and Director of Athletics Chasse Conque said. “Coach Hill was an incredible human being. He was a close friend, a tremendous colleague, and a leader of men. His passion for people is something that sets Coach Hill apart. This is a fitting tribute for a man who meant so much to so many.”
This is Hill’s third major award since the regular season ended, as he was the unanimous selection for WAC Coach of the Year and the NABC District 6 Co-Coach of the Year.
“Lew Hill the coach was surpassed only by Lew Hill the person,” said Angela Lento, Vice President of CollegeInsider.com. “The coaching world needs more people like Lew Hill. He was a rising star in the profession.”
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%).
The Skip Prosser Man of the Year award honors those who not only achieve success on the basketball court but who display moral integrity off the floor as well. In six years with the Deacons, Prosser posted a 126-68 record. For his career, he was 291-146 in 14 seasons including six as the head coach at Xavier and one year at Loyola (Md.).
At Wake Forest, Prosser’s teams averaged 21 wins per season while playing in arguably the nation’s most difficult league, the Atlantic Coast Conference. Prosser won 100 games at an ACC school quicker than all but two coaches in the 55-year history of the conference. He coached NBA stars Chris Paul and Josh Howard, led the Demon Deacons to the first No. 1 national ranking in school history, and earned ACC Coach of the Year honors in 2003.
Prosser passed away of an apparent heart attack on July 26, 2007, in his office at Wake Forest. He had just returned from his morning jog.