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Sunday, May 1, 2016

Hill takes 1,023 wins into AHSCA Hall of Fame

Thursday, January 23, 2003

Longevity and success usually go hand-in-hand in the coaching business.

The more wins a coach racks up, the longer he is able to coach.

No one in the history of girls' high school basketball in the state of Arkansas enjoyed any more success than did Thednal Hill.

This success has earned Hill a well deserved spot in the Arkansas High School Coaches' Association Hall of Fame. The announcement came Jan. 13.

Hill's coaching career at Moro, Viola and Highland stretched from 1952 until he retired in 1986.

During his 34 years on the bench, Hill amassed an amazing record of 1,023 wins and 162 losses, good enough for an unheard of winning percentage of .897.

This record gives Hill the title of winningest girls' basketball coach in Arkansas, with Drew Central's Barbara Gilliam-Harris at number two on the list with 783 wins. Gilliam-Harris is still coaching.

Joining Hill as inductees in this year's AHSCA Hall of Fame class are John Wyatt of Clarksville, Sam Goodwin of Arkadelphia, Orville Ashley of Prattsville, Willie Click of Nashville, and the late Raymond Peters of Little Rock.

The induction banquet is scheduled for July 25 at the Hot Springs Convention Center.

Hill's victory totals in the state of Arkansas rank him third nationally behind Jim Smiddy (1,217) of Tennessee and Bertha Teague (1,152) of Oklahoma.

When asked how it feels to be one of the newest members of the AHSCA Hall of Fame, Hill responded "That's an easy one. It feels great. I'm really honored by my selection."

Hill, who coached during both the six-on-six and the current five-on-five era, said that while the game changed over the years, the players pretty much remained the same.

"Having good girls to work with was really the key to my success," Hill said. "I was really fortunate to have the kind of young ladies all along the way that was willing to pay the price to be successful."

Hill led three teams to state titles and still keeps active in the sport by going to local games and talking on a regular basis with friends still in the coaching profession.

Although Hill spends most of his time farming at his home near Viola, he still occassionally misses being involved in the day-to-day activities of coaching.

"I do still miss coaching a little," Hill admitted. "I miss working with the young ladies the most. That's one reason I stayed in as long as I did, because I really looked forward to going to work every day because of them."

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