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The Long-Term Impact of a Great Coach

Fred Hill, the fomer head baseball coach at Rutgers University and the winningest coach in school history, died earlier this month.  When asked to reflect on Coach Hill, Joe Litterio, the current Rutgers baseball coach who played for Hill, said in an article on nj.com:

"Where do I start? How do you say goodbye to a man who has meant so much to so many different people? He was a leader by example,’’ said Litterio. “He taught us to do things the right way, to win with class. Nothing fancy, just old-fashioned hard work. And that was just the baseball side of him. He taught us much more than the fundamentals of baseball. He taught us the fundamentals of life.’’

In an article on the Boston Globe website, writer Tara Sullivan wrote:

"When Darren Fenster took to Twitter to share a long thread on the impact Hill had on his life, when he shared the way Hill hadn’t just coached him into an All-American in college but guided him into a post-playing life as a coach, the Red Sox minor league outfield and baserunning coordinator opened a powerful window into the ways in which a good coach can change your life.

“'I find myself at random times laughing about something I remember, and then I’m a mess crying out of nowhere, because I realize how much this guy did for me. As a man. You don’t come across people like that very often [Fenster posted].'”

Sullivan beautiully summarized what every coach should strive for in their career.

"You’re lucky if you do, and anyone who has played sports at any level understands this truth," Sullivan wrote. "Encounter the youth coach who emphasizes winning at all costs, who yells at mistakes during practice, who reserves the best plays for the best players, who values results over instruction, and find a kid who doesn’t want to play much longer.

"But find the coach who truly is a teacher, who gives every kid a soccer ball at practice, who takes time with each player and underscores all lessons with positive reinforcement, and find a kid who can’t wait to get to practice, who’s planting the seeds for a lifelong love affair with teamwork, activity, and fun.

"Find that coach, and find the kid who might just be lucky enough to play long enough to encounter a mentor like Hill, whose belief in doing things the right way, whose emphasis on fundamental skills on the field and a 'we over me' attitude in the dugout didn’t just win games, but won hearts and minds, too."

These are truly words to coach by.

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