April 21, 2006
Entering his fifth season on the Butler sidelines, Gene Hill has been promoted to associate head coach for women's basketball, head coach Beth Couture announced Friday (April 21). Hill joined Couture's first Butler staff in 2002 after serving as the interim head women's basketball coach at East Carolina University during the 2001-02 season. Butler's winning percentage has increased every season since Couture and Hill arrived in Indianapolis.
"I'm excited to be able to give Gene this well-deserved promotion," said Couture. "He's been an integral part of our recent success, both on the court and the recruiting trails, and he will continue to play a big role in our goal of renewing the prestige of Butler basketball."
Hill's primary responsibilities with the team include serving as the program's recruiting coordinator and assisting with on-court instruction. The 2006-07 season will be the first with a roster filled only by players signed by the current coaching staff. The Bulldogs enter the campaign as one of the favorites to capture the Horizon League crown.
"I'm proud to be associated with such a great university," said Hill. "We have a special group of players here and a talented group of recruits. I want to thank coach Couture and the administration of their support and their willingness to give me this honor."
The Bulldogs' recent resurgence to the upper tier of the Horizon League has been in large part to the talent that Hill has accumulated on the Butler roster. Each of the Bulldogs' three recruiting classes signed under Couture and Hill have included a Horizon League "All-Newcomer Team" honoree (Ellen Hamilton, Cassie Freeman and Lade Akande).
Hill has re-established relationships within the Indiana basketball community, as 12 of the 16 players signed by Butler during Hill's tenure have Indiana ties. The list includes six Indiana All-Stars (current Bulldogs Jackie Closser, Freeman and Tara Miller to go along with 2006 incoming players Susan Lester and Melanie Thornton), while Hill's recruiting classes have also featured Indiana Junior All-Stars in Candace Bain and Julie Seiss, Hamilton (a McDonald's All-American nominee from Greenfield) and All-Indianapolis prep standout Candace Jones.
However, he has shown the ability to sign some of the Midwest's best talent, landing the MVP of the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association 2005 Class A Girls All-Star Game (Akande) and Ohio McDonald's All-American nominee Candyce Brown. National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division I First-Team All-American Carla Gheorghe from Vincennes (Ind.) University also joined the team under Hill's watch.
Prior to his stint at East Carolina, Hill was the head women's basketball coach at University of South Carolina - Spartanburg from 1999-01. While in Spartanburg, he recruited three USA Today Honorable Mention Division II All-Americans and the 2000-01 Peach Belt Conference "Freshman of the Year."
From 1997-99, Hill served as an assistant women's basketball coach at Lander (S.C.) University, where he helped lead the Bearcats to their first Peach Belt Conference Tournament championship and earned an NCAA Division II Tournament bid.
Hill graduated from Coker (S.C.) College with a degree in physical education in 1997. While at Coker, Hill played for the Cobras' basketball team for one season and also served as the assistant women's basketball coach for three seasons.
Butler finished the 2005-06 campaign with an overall record of 15-14 and a fourth-place finish in the Horizon League. The Bulldogs advanced to the semifinals of the league tournament and return all eight players who appeared in that contest, led by "All-Horizon League" performers Closser and Akande.