The Chariot

Remembering Don Hill

Community memorializes sports coach after his passing.

Assistant Principal Brian Zawislak presents

Assistant Principal Brian Zawislak presents "The Hill" banner at the homecoming pep assembly.

Annie Smuts

Annie Smuts

Assistant Principal Brian Zawislak presents "The Hill" banner at the homecoming pep assembly.

Peyton Downing, Staff Writer

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Don Hill, former wrestling coach and World War II veteran, passed away on May 14, leaving behind fond memories in the minds of staff and students alike. Born March 2, 1926, Hill graduated from Wayne State and Michigan State University and started working at Troy High in 1951. He was inducted into the Michigan High School Athletics Coaches Hall of Fame in 1995 and the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in Oklahoma posthumously on May 22.

Ever since he began working, many students say Hill made a difference in their lives.

“I’ve known him my whole life,” senior Joey Mason said.

All of Mason’s four brothers also had Hill as a coach.

“All his time was spent trying to make kids better,” Mason said. “Even when he was older, he would always show up to practice with a smile on his face.”

Hill inspired not only Mason but the whole team to do better.

He was more than a coach. He had a lot of life lessons and wisdom to share with us.”

— senior Joey Mason

“Whenever anyone didn’t feel like showing up to practice, people would always say ‘Well, Don’s here. What’s your excuse?’” Mason said.

Hill’s role as a mentor reinforced a strong sense of commitment to the program and its members.

“He was the most selfless man I’ve ever met,” wrestling coach Gary Harlan said. “He would work with everyone.”

Hill was not always a wrestling coach; other staff members also remember Hill in the classroom.

“He was my teacher back in 1972,” secretary Pamela Brubaker said.

Brubaker had Hill’s class during the election of 1972. He would bring in several speakers to talk about the parties on the ballots.

“He wanted to bring in someone from the Communist Party but he wasn’t allowed to,” Brubaker said. “He stopped bringing people in.”

Later, Hill became the athletic director and the coach that many students knew him to be.

“People had come up to him and said to him that they would never have graduated without him,” said Harlan. “He saved kids’ lives because he listened to them.”

Following a petition from students, the football stadium has been officially renamed the Don Hill Stadium, and the student section now has a banner proclaiming it “The Hill” in his honor

“He was more than a coach,” Mason said. “He had a lot of life lessons and wisdom to share with us.”

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About the Contributors
Peyton Downing, Source Editor
Peyton Downing, senior, is in his first year on staff. He is also in marching band and Political Awareness Club. Peyton’s hobbies include fencing, video games and playing Magic: the Gathering. He plans on dual majoring in journalism and English.
Annie Smuts, Body Copy Editor
Annie Smuts, junior, is excited for her second year on staff. In her free time, Annie loves to cook, run, box and read. At the MIPA Summer Workshop, Annie won the Excellence in Column Writing award and also won two awards from MIPA in the spring.
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