Legendary Statesboro head coach Lee Hill was inducted into the Georgia Athletic Coaches Hall of Fame recently in a ceremony held at the Dalton Convention Center in Dalton, Georgia, the home of the Hall of Fame.
Hill was the winningest coach in the state of Georgia at the time of his passing in August of 2020. He led the Blue Devils to the state playoffs in all but one of his 44 years of coaching. His career ended with 877 victories, a state title, one state runner-up, and six trips to the Final Four.
Attending the ceremony in his honor was his wife, Wilma Hill, his daughter, Iesha Baldwin, and his son, Lee Hill Jr.
"It is just a blessing to see Lee be inducted into the Hall of Fame,“ said Wilma Hill. “I'm overjoyed to see his hard work acknowledged.”
“It is a great honor to see my dad be selected to the Georgia Athletic Coaches Association Hall of Fame,“ said Baldwin. “I would sincerely like to thank everyone on the committee that thought of him for this wonderful accolade. It is truly a blessing to see him be honored for all the hard work that he put into Statesboro basketball.
“I would also like to thank the great support system he had over the years to help him build a basketball dynasty in South Georgia,” said Baldwin. “From the administration, players, parents, game day personnel, boosters, and loyal Blue Devil fans. They truly believed in his coaching philosophy and allowed him to do great things with young men and women from his hometown Statesboro.”
And while there is no wing in the Hall of Fame for coaches’ wives, Baldwin recognized the sacrifices her mother, Wilma, made to help Coach Hill in his success.
“I would also like to thank my mom, Wilma Hill, for being a great coach's wife over the years,” said Baldwin. “She ran concession stands, packed lunches, and listened to all the moans and groans for thousands of games.”
The honor of inducting Hill into the Hall of Fame came from long-time Southeast Bulloch coach John Page. Page and Hill coached in Bulloch County together for over 36 years and shared a friendship off the court as well.
“We developed a friendship outside of coaching,” said Page. “We had our church Easter program at our house and I invited him and his family and grandkids over and they came many times and had a great time. He was impressed by our garden and took his grandchildren over to see the garden. We visited each other at each other’s homes and talked about a lot of things besides basketball.”
“I can’t really say we had a rivalry on the court since we never beat him,” said Page. “We shared offensive and defensive philosophies, and if he thought he could help you, he was happy to give you information, regardless of whether he was going to have to play you or not. He was one of the most well-respected coaches throughout the state for over 40 years and was a shoe-in to go into the Hall of Fame on the first ballot.”
The only other basketball coach to go in this year was Seth Vining. Other inductees included: football coach Hal Lamb, baseball coach Donnie English and golf coach Terry Tulley.