Lew Hill, a UNLV men’s assistant basketball coach from 2004-11, died in his sleep Sunday morning. He was 56.
Hill was the men’s basketball coach at Texas-Rio Grande Valley and coached in the school’s 77-75 loss to Texas Southern on Saturday.
He was 67-77 in his five seasons as the Vaqueros’ head coach. He led Texas-Rio Grande Valley to postseason berths in 2018 and 2019, the school’s first since it reached the 1981 National Invitational Tournament at Texas-Pan American.
Hill served as an assistant under Lon Kruger for 12 seasons at UNLV and Oklahoma. The Rebels were 161-74 under Kruger and reached the NCAA tournament four times during that span, including a Sweet 16 berth in 2007.
Kruger said Hill brought credibility to his programs and was terrific with players, on and off the floor, and in the community.
“Coach Hill had a wonderful family, and he was a great basketball coach,” Kruger said. “He was a terrific guy in every way. I appreciated his ethics and family values. He was all you’d want as a coach in your program.”
Hill reportedly battled COVID-19 recently and had planned to resign after this season because of medical issues.
Hill is survived by his wife Renee and their two children, son Lewis Jr. and daughter Elle. Hill also has three other children, Sierra, Erica and Asya.
“Words cannot describe how any of us feel right now. Everyone in our department is devastated by this news,” UTRGV ahtletic director Chasse Conque said in a 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 Renee and Coach Hill’s entire family during this unimaginable time.”