When Tim Hill first went out with his future wife, Genny, the date didn’t go that well from Genny’s perspective.
“I thought it was a very boring date the first time,” Genny said.
But Hill, who was preparing for his professional baseball career in the Washington Senators organization, and Genny’s story didn’t end there.
They got engaged two weeks later, married after three months of courtship and were married for 49 years before Hill died on Christmas Day in 2015 at the age of 71.
The family and life they built together translated into how Hill coached baseball.
“I know that his greatest achievement that he would tell you is all of the boys and being able to share experiences with them that they would take with the rest of their lives,” Genny said.
Hill’s lengthy and storied junior college coaching career with what is now known as State College of Florida was honored Friday in Indianapolis with an induction into the American Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame.
“They advertise it as the highest honor a college coach can receive, and I would agree with that,” said Tim Hill II, who became SCF’s head coach following his father’s retirement in 2012. “Their membership, they just announced (Thursday) at one of our meetings they are looking to push 9,000 members worldwide. I think there are 6,000 coaches at this convention. The people that are in the Hall of Fame and the ones that are going in now, it’s a who’s who of college and high school baseball around the country. It’s a real prestigious honor that we’re excited about.”
1,193Tim Hill’s career victories, the most in Florida junior college baseball history.
Hill’s accolades – 1,193 career wins, 293 former players continuing to four-year schools, 145 former players earning a pro roster spot and 17 former players reaching the major league level – are immense, though his honest nature, integrity and family atmosphere in the way he coached are part of his legacy.
Growing up playing baseball in Virginia, Hill became aware of what was then called Manatee Junior College through teammates who played for the legendary Bob Wynn at the Bradenton school.
Genny, who met Hill on a blind date in 1966 through a friend she went to church with, was originally from St. Petersburg.
After their marriage, the Hills spent their summers in Florida. Hill put in applications with high schools and junior colleges during the seven years they lived in Virginia.
But a real key to bringing Hill to Bradenton was Dr. Stephen J. Korcheck, the junior college’s former president.
Tim knew the legend of Bob Wynn. But, you see, they were both faith-built coaches. Their ideas and philosophies were the same and we hit it off, and the rest is history.
Genny Hill, wife of Tim Hill
“Steve was the one guiding Tim all along,” Genny said.
Genny said Korcheck’s advice on landing a JUCO coaching gig was to be patient and take whatever job you can get.
So Hill found himself turning around South Florida Junior College for four years in Avon Park, before Korcheck brought Hill to Bradenton to become an assistant coach under Wynn.
When Wynn stepped down, Hill became the second head baseball coach in the Bradenton school’s history.
“Tim knew the legend of Bob Wynn,” Genny said. “But, you see, they were both faith-built coaches. Their ideas and philosophies were the same and we hit it off, and the rest is history.”
Genny said she knew nothing about baseball when she met Tim Hill, but her knowledge only grew.
“I knew that if we wanted to be a family, we had to bring our kids to the baseball field,” Genny said. “So we lived half on the baseball field and half at home.”
Now the family, which includes daughters Kimberley and Whitney, son Tim Hill II and grandchildren, are celebrating the pinnacle of college baseball coaching with the ABCA induction one day shy of the 51st wedding anniversary between Genny and Tim.
“When he took me home, I thought I had the worst night of my life but I am going to show this guy what he’s going to miss,” Genny said. “So I gave him a kiss. And let me just tell you, and I’ve told my girls and my son, you better marry someone that’s a good kisser and that’s what did it for me.”
Added Hill II: “He was my best friend. I still miss him so much. I don’t think there’s a son around that was more proud of his dad than I was. Our relationship was great, and I couldn’t have asked for a better dad.”