JESS HILL, LEGENDARY TROJAN PLAYER, COACH, ATHLETIC DIRECTOR, DIES AT 86

09/27/93
Jesse T. Hill, whose career as a player, coach and athletic director at USC
spanned six decades, died Aug. 31 in Pasadena. He was 86.

Hill was USC's head football coach from 1951 through 1956. His 1952 team provided
the Pacific Coast Conference with its first victory over a Big Ten team in the
Rose Bowl by beating Wisconsin, 7-0.

He became athletic director in 1957 and served until 1972. He then became the
first commissioner of the Pacific Coast Athletic Association, serving until his
retirement in 1978.

During Hill's tenure as athletic director, USC won 29 national championships.

As a student athlete, he starred in three sports, earning letters in football
(1928-29), track (1927-29) and baseball (1930). He played on Trojan football
teams that won the 1928 national championship and the 1930 Rose Bowl. He was a
reserve USC fullback in 1928 and 1929 on Howard Jones' famed Thundering Herd
teams. He was exceptionally fast and, in 1929, led the conference with an average
of 8.2 yards in his 54 carries.

Hill was a long jumper on the track team. He ended his track career in 1929 by
winning the long jump at the IC 4- A meet with a meet-record distance of 25 feet
and seven- eighths of an inch.

He played on the USC baseball team in 1930 and was the leading batter in the
California Intercollegiate Baseball Association with an average of .389.

Graduating cum laude in 1930, he signed a professional baseball contract with the
Hollywood Stars of the Pacific Coast League. In his first at-bat at Wrigley Field
against the Los Angeles Angels, Hill hit a home run.

Purchased by the New York Yankees, Hill played for Newark in 1932, St. Paul in
1933 and Newark again in 1934 before being called up by the Yankees in 1935.

An outfielder, he played in 107 games and batted .293. He was with the Washington
Senators in 1936, batting .305. Hill played for the Senators and the Philadelphia
Athletics in 1937. He finished his baseball career with the Oakland Oaks of the
PCL in 1938 and 1939.

In his off-seasons during his baseball career, Hill began his coaching career
with stops at Corona High, Riverside Junior College and Long Beach City College.

He enlisted in the Navy in 1942 and served until 1946, earning the rank of
lieutenant commander.

Hill returned to USC in 1946 as freshman football coach and assistant track
coach. He succeeded the legendary Dean Cromwell as track coach in 1948, guiding
the Trojans to a pair of undefeated seasons and NCAA crowns. He also was USC's
track coach in 1962, following the sudden death of Jess Mortensen, and led the
Trojans to a third-place NCAA finish.

Hill is survived by a daughter, Mary Bett Carter, and a son, Jess Hill Jr. He had
five grandchildren and one great- grandchild.