Good news, and bad regarding the health of Statesboro High head basketball coach Lee Hill. The bad news is the legendary Blue Devil coach has been hospitalized since early June for COVID-19. The good news is he is in stable condition at East Georgia Regional Medical Center, and is not on a ventilator.
Local social media sites posted incorrect information recently about Coach Hill, which sent family and friends into a panic, as they feared others may have information they hadn’t heard yet.
“Our family kept getting phone calls telling us everything from that his condition was worse, to that he had passed away,” said Hill’s daughter Iesha Baldwin. “The public outpour of affection for my dad has been great, but the misinformation on social media has really gotten out of control.”
According to Baldwin, Hill complained of nausea on June 11. She took him to an urgent care facility who recommended he go to the Emergency Room at EGRMC as he was also complaining of shortness of breath. A COVID-19 test was then performed, and upon it coming up positive he was immediately admitted to EGRMC.
As a precaution Baldwin tried to take her mother Wilma Hill to get a test on Friday, but she was informed they would not have the results until Monday. Baldwin then took her mother straight to the ER where she tested positive, and was admitted as well.
“It was pretty scary, but I’m glad they were able to get the test, and get her in there as quick as they did.” Baldwin said. “The hardest thing was not being able to see either of them, and having to rely on the doctors and nurses to see how they were doing.”
Wilma was released the following Monday, and has been home ever since. Baldwin says her mother has been slowly improving, but the emotional toll has been difficult, because this is the first time the Hill’s have not been able to see each other for an extended time in their 44 years of marriage.
“It has been hard on everyone, but particularly my mother,” Baldwin said. “She hasn’t been able to see him since June 11, that's almost a month now. I feel like she would be doing even better if she could just see him, or be able to talk to him.”
Lee Hill was able to talk to family members on the phone until June 24 when the doctors decided it was best to take his phone away altogether.
“We were able to talk to him for a few weeks from time to time,” Baldwin said. “The problem became that the doctors felt it was hurting his oxygen levels to talk too much, so they decided it was best to just take it away.”
Hill has not been on a ventilator, although he has had to have oxygen added through a tube into his nostrils. He has been able to make progress, as the amount of oxygen has been decreased over the past few weeks.
“The good thing is they have been able to reduce the amount of oxygen,” Baldwin says. “He really is only having trouble with one of his lungs.”
“This has been a tough time, but we are thankful for all the prayers and thoughts of everyone in the community,” Balwin said. “I am hopeful that with us coming out with the real information maybe that will cut down on all the rumors and things that keep swirling around.”
Lee Hill has been the head basketball coach at Statesboro High the past 44 years. Hill is currently the winningest active head coach in the state of Georgia with over 850 career victories.