Former Patriot Hoops Coach Named to FMU Athletic Hall of Fame (Induction on Saturday)
FLORENCE, S.C. - Francis Marion University athletic officials have announced that former Patriot men’s basketball coach Lewis Hill will be the newest inductee into the FMU Athletic Hall of Fame.
The induction ceremony will take place during Homecoming activities on Saturday (Feb. 28). The ceremony will occur at approximately 3:45 p.m. in the Smith University Center gymnasium, between the women’s and men's games of the FMU and Augusta State University basketball doubleheader.
Hill served as the head men’s basketball coach at Francis Marion for 21 seasons, from 1976 to 1997, recording a 339-276 record. He is responsible for 74 percent of the program’s all-time win total.
In only his second year (1977-78), he guided Francis Marion to its first winning season (20-8) and the program’s first post-season berth (NAIA District Six Tournament). He piloted Francis Marion to its best-ever record (24-7) in 1979-80, and to the program’s only NAIA District Six championship and NAIA national tournament appearance in 1990-91.
His Patriot teams won at least 19 games in 11 of his 21 seasons, including seven 20-win campaigns. His teams ranked nationally in team scoring defense in six of his final seven seasons at FMU.
His 1985-86 team won its opening eight games and 11 of its first 12, and was ranked as high as sixth in the nation (NAIA) in January of that year, en route to a 22-8 record.
He was named NAIA District Six “Coach of the Year” twice, in 1978 and 1991. He was also selected as the Palmetto State Conference “Coach of the Year” following the 1990-91 season. Under his direction, Francis Marion twice captured a share of the Palmetto State Conference crown, in 1989-90 and 1990-91.
Hill guided Francis Marion to a respectable 5-12 record in games against NCAA Division I opponents. He won his first game at Francis Marion, 65-63 over USC Aiken on Nov. 27, 1976, and his final win at FMU was also against USCA, 65-60 on Feb. 25, 1997.
Prior to taking the FMU position, he established the men’s basketball program at Central Wesleyan College (now Southern Wesleyan University) and compiled a 99-50 record in six seasons. His 1975-76 Central Wesleyan squad placed second at the NCCAA national tournament.
After leaving Francis Marion, he spent several years in private business, but recently returned to coaching at the high school level. He just concluded his second year as boys’ varsity basketball coach at Woodland High School in Dorchester, S.C. The Wolverines were 15-11 in 2002-03, and 10-8 this past year, and both years advanced to the AA State playoffs.
A native of Greensboro, N.C., Hill’s coaching career began at Allen Jay High School in High Point, N.C., in 1965, where current N.C. State University women’s head coach Kay Yow coached the girls’ varsity. Hill earned his undergraduate degree from Mars Hill College and his master’s from UNC Greensboro.
Hill joins 24 current members in the FMU Athletic Hall of Fame, which was formed in 1991. Past inductees include Cindy Alford (women’s softball), Jeannette Alston (women’s basketball, volleyball), Kristi Anderson (women’s softball), Mark Bedenbaugh (cross country, track and field), Gary Bennett (golf), Maria Costas (women’s basketball, tennis, volleyball), Tom C. Davidson (coach and administrator), Carlton Farr (men’s basketball), LaRue Fields (women’s basketball, volleyball), Allen Floyd (men’s basketball), Sylvia Rhyne Hatchell (women’s basketball coach), Mary Hirst (women’s tennis), Wayne Huggins (baseball), Scotty Keefe (baseball), Sam Lundkvist (men’s tennis), Pearl Moore (women’s basketball), Robert Moore (men’s basketball), Mitch Powell (track and field, cross country), Tommy Randall (golf), Garth Thomson (men’s tennis player and coach), Randy White (track and field, cross country), Mike Wilson (baseball), Lee Whitwell (women’s tennis), and Rendy Yates (women’s softball player and coach).