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Thursday, June 13, 2024

Maryland Eastern Shore names Cleo Hill Jr. as men’s head basketball coach

Maryland Eastern Shore has called upon an HBCU coaching legend as its next men’s basketball coach. 

On Saturday, the school announced it hired Cleo Hill Jr. as the Hawks coach.

“We are excited about the future of Hawk basketball as we welcome Cleo Hill, Jr. to UMES, said athletics director Tara A. Owens.

Coach Hill stood out as the right person to lead our men’s basketball program. Coach Hill has a proven track of building winning programs with success at Cheyney, Shaw, and Winston-Salem State. He has a tremendous reputation as a coach and has a great vision for Hawk basketball. Under his leadership, we will continue to reach new heights of success on the court, in the classroom, and the community.”

Hill spent the previous six seasons as the head coach at Winston Salem State, where his father, Cleo Hill Sr., was a star basketball player from 1957-1961. He compiled a 90-50 overall record and 55-29 within the CIAA. He led the Rams to CIAA Tournament championships in 2020 and 2023 and was named CIAA Coach of the Year twice ( 2020 and 2023).

Hill was also the head coach of Cheney University for five seasons. He compiled an overall 55-67 record, including a 23-8 record during the 2003-04 campaign. He also led the Wolves to two NCAA Division II Playoff appearances.

Winston Salem State athletic director Etienne Thomas offered high praise of their now former head coach:

“I want to thank Coach Hill for returning to his roots from childhood to lead the WSSU men’s basketball team and etching his place in the history books of WSSU men’s basketball while preserving the legacy, excellence, traditions, and championship success of those who came before him. I am thankful to have had the opportunity to serve with someone who put the well-being of the student-athletes first, was coachable, and was willing to pivot.

WSSU associate head coach Eric Wilson will lead the program as acting head coach as a nationwide season begins.

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