Lew Hill, Texas-Rio Grande Valley basketball coach, dead at 56

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Lew Hill, the head men’s basketball coach at Texas-Rio Grande Valley, died Sunday at the age of 56, the school announced.

The Mount Vernon native, who recently battled COVID-19, had previous medical issues and was set to step away for the remainder of the season before his death hours after coaching, according to Stadium’s Jeff Goodman.

In a statement Sunday night, the school said the cause of death was unknown.

“Words cannot describe how any of us feel right now. Everyone in our department is devastated by this news,” UTRGV Vice President and Director of Athletics Chasse Conque said in the statement. “Coach Hill was an incredible human being. He was my close friend and a trusted colleague. He cared deeply about those around him, from his family, to his players, to his staff and really, everyone in the department and at UTRGV. We offer our deepest condolences to [his wife] Renee and Coach Hill’s entire family during this unimaginable time.”

The former Oklahoma (2011-2016) and Texas A&M (1998-2004) assistant coached the Vaqueros during their loss to Texas Southern on Saturday night. Hill was 67-77 overall in five seasons at Texas-Rio Grande Valley, including 8-4 this season.

“Just heard the terrible news regarding the passing of Lew Hill,” Indiana coach Archie Miller wrote on Twitter. “I really thought the world of Lew, always a great guy and terrific coach. Thoughts and Prayers to his family and loved ones.”

Hill was a major part of the Oklahoma staff that helped the school reach the Final Four in 2016. He was an All-State performer at Mount Vernon High School before going on to play for Eddie Fogler at Wichita State. He spent 30-plus years coaching college basketball with stops at South Alabama, East Carolina, UNLV and Southeast Missouri State.

“So, so sad to hear about Lew Hill’s passing today,” Fran Fraschilla, the ESPN analyst and former St. John’s coach, wrote on Twitter. “A New York kid who made good as a player at @GoShockersMBB. He became a terrific coach, teacher, mentor & friend. A very tough day for the basketball community. RIP, Lew.”

Hill is survived by his wife, Renee, their two children, Lewis Jr. and Elle, and three other daughters, Sierra, Erica and Asya.

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