Rich Hill, San Diego Toreros

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Rich Hill is in his 19th season as the head coach of the University of San Diego Toreros. The Toreros head into their final regular-season series of the West Coast Conference campaign with a 32-18-1 record, including a 15-9 mark in the WCC. USD has made a substantial improvement over the past year after concluding the 2016 campaign with a 27-29 record.

This season, the Toreros have been led on offense by Roman Garcia, Jay Schuyler, Hunter Mercado-Hood and Riley Adams. Adams is a semi-finalist for the Dick Howser Trophy, which is awarded to the top player in college baseball.

Hill has built the USD Toreros into one of the most successful Division I baseball programs on the West Coast. The 2017 season represents his 30th year as a head coach and has  now enjoyed 26 winning seasons in those 30 campaigns. Since taking over at USD in 1999, Hill has been remarkable in re-writing the school record book en route to claiming back-to-back West Coast Conference Championship titles in 2002 and 2003 and also claiming the WCC crown in 2007, 2008, 2010 and 2015. Under his watchful leadership, USD produced three consecutive first round picks in Kris Bryant, Conner Joe and Kyle Holder from 2013-2015. USD has had 44 players sign a pro contract in the last eight years. The Toreros have been ranked or received votes in the national polls at some point during the season for 11 consecutive years, and USD has been tabbed the WCC preseason favorite for nine of the past ten years.

Hill is a proven winner. He has a record of success in each of his three head coaching stops – first at his alma mater Cal Lutheran. In his first head coaching job as the manager at Cal Lu, he won 83% of his games during his final three seasons (1991-93). Hill led Cal Lutheran to a record of 194-76 (.719) over six seasons, including two World Series appearances. His 1990 team won the first-ever district championship in school history. His 1992 squad posted a 43-6 record before falling a couple of outs shy of the NCAA Division III title, while the 1993 team finished first in the Western Region with a 32-7 record. Under Hill’s guidance, the Kingsmen knocked off Division I opponents such as USC, Pepperdine, San Diego State, UC Santa Barbara and Cal State Northridge. During his six seasons at Cal Lutheran, 92 percent of his players received their degrees.

Hill was hired by the University of San Francisco in 1994, taking the Dons from the WCC cellar to a 34-win season in his final year in 1998. Hill posted three consecutive winning seasons at USF, including a school-best 18 wins in the West Coast Conference in 1998 as the Dons finished tied with USD for third place in the WCC. Over his final three seasons there, Hill guided USF to upper division finishes in the WCC; and posted three straight winning seasons, including two campaigns of 30 or more victories. Hill’s track record boasts record-breaking seasons for wins in a single season at Cal Lu (43), USD (44) and Chatham in Cape League (35).

In addition to his collegiate coaching positions, Hill was head coach for the Chatham A’s of the Cape Cod League between 1990-93, winning the league title in 1992 with a franchise record of 35-11. He has twice been recognized as the ABCA West Region Coach of the Year (1992, 1993); was the 1992 Cape Cod Baseball League Manager of the Year; was twice named the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Coach of the Year (1992, 1993); and twice was the recipient of the California Lutheran Alumni Career Excellence Award (1993, 1994).

About the author, Bill

Bill Ballew has been involved with collegiate and professional baseball since 1983. He has been the Atlanta correspondent for Baseball America since 1991 and has served as the editorial content manager for Baseball The Magazine for more than five years. He is a member of the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA), National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) and the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR).