Remembering Bobby Joe Hill
Bobby Joe Hill, the star guard on Texas Western College's 1966 national championship team, passed away on Dec. 8, 2002 in El Paso. He was 59 years old.
A native of Detroit, Mich., Hill averaged 15 points during the Miners' march to the title. He scored 20 points in the championship game against Kentucky and was named to the Final Four All-Tournament Team. Hill set the tone for the Miners' 72-65 upset of the Wildcats by stealing the ball on two consecutive first half possessions and scoring on layups.
Hill played in 63 games for Texas Western. His senior year (1966-67) was cut short due to a leg injury, and he was on the floor for only eight games.
He stayed in El Paso after completing his college eligibility, working for El Paso Natural Gas Company for 30 years. He retired in 1996 as executive senior buyer.
"I am deeply, deeply saddened by the death of Bobby Joe Hill," former UTEP coach Don Haskins said in a statement prepared following Hill's passing. "Bobby Joe was the greatest leader, the greatest competitor I have ever had. What he and his teammates accomplished speaks for itself. There have been so many television specials, so many stories written around the country, and now they are making a movie about it. Bobby Joe was such a nice guy. He always had a smile for everyone. He will be missed. This is a sad day in our house and a sad day for El Paso sports fans. My sympathies go out to Bobby Joe's family."
Hill is survived by his wife, Waltina, and his daughter, Michelle Shetfield.