HOWELL – A year ago, Bill Hill received a phone call from Frank Edgerly, the former Red Bank Catholic High School football coach who had just taken over as the head coach at Howell High School.
Edgerly asked Hill to return to his alma mater and join him on the Rebels’ coaching staff.
At the time, Hill was the associate head coach and offensive coordinator at St. John Vianney High School in Holmdel. He accepted Edgerly’s offer because he had always wanted the opportunity to coach at Howell.
Hill served as the Rebels’ defensive coordinator during the 2020 season that was significantly impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
“Being back at Howell where I made my mark was neat,” Hill said this week. “Howell is a great community. I want to thank Frank (Edgerly) for what he started here at Howell. I wouldn’t be in the good position I’m in if it wasn’t for that.”
Edgerly stepped down at Howell after a 2-4 campaign in 2020 to pursue other coaching opportunities. His departure after one season opened the door for Hill and on April 29 he was appointed Howell’s head football coach by the Freehold Regional High School District Board of Education.
“To come back to Howell and be the head football coach is a true blessing,” Hill said. “I want to thank Superintendent of Schools Charles Sampson, Principal Jeremy Braverman and Supervisor of Extracurricular Activities Pete Meehan for giving me this opportunity. I am excited to be back home. It’s a blessing to be coaching this team and it’s a great situation for me to be a part of.”
Hill was a three-sport standout at Howell from 1974-77. He earned all-state honors on the gridiron and on the baseball diamond. He became the first boys basketball player in school history to score 1,000 career points.
The Howell resident attended the University of Virginia for a semester following graduation, but transferred back home to Brookdale Community College after sustaining an injury while playing football for the Cavaliers.
At Brookdale, Hill switched his athletic focus to baseball and earned honorable mention All-American recognition. He was selected by the New York Mets in the 16th round of the 1979 Amateur Entry Draft.
Hill said he was happy about the success he had on the diamond, but always knew he wanted to go back and try to play football.
After playing baseball for one season in the New York-Penn League, Hill entered Rutgers University and earned a spot on the football team as a walk-on. He started at cornerback during his only season with the Scarlet Knights.
Hill signed as an undrafted free agent with the NFL’s Cleveland Browns in 1981, but was released prior to the start of the season. In 1985, Hill played for the New Jersey Generals in the United States Football League. During the NFL strike in 1987, Hill joined the Dallas Cowboys and saw action in three games.
When his playing days ended, Hill returned to school to earn his bachelor’s degree in history at Thomas Edison State University.
Howell will be Hill’s third tenure as a head coach at the high school level. He was the head coach at Toms River South from 2008-10, going 7-23. He coached the Asbury Park football team in 2014.
As an assistant coach, Hill has had stops at Manchester, St. John Vianney, Jackson Memorial, Freehold and Lakewood.
Hill said his return to Howell as the Rebels’ defensive coordinator in 2020 was “outstanding.” He said he enjoyed coaching the players Howell had on its roster.
“I really bonded with them last year,” Hill said. “I knew some of them from helping out at the Howell PAL football camp each year. They are a good group of kids.”
According to Hill, most of Howell’s coaching staff from 2020 will be back in 2021, including Bob Generelli, who led Middletown South and Raritan high schools to state titles. Generelli will serve as offensive coordinator.
The staff will also include Hill’s son, Bill Hill Jr. This will be the second time the father-son duo will be coaching together after one season at Manchester.
Hill said he is excited to be coaching with his son again and believes his experienced staff will continue where they left off in developing the players on the gridiron.
“What we started last year is not changing. We have a great coaching staff. We are going to have a heavy concentration on fundamentals and blocking and tackling. We are going to preach academics. I am really excited for the upcoming season,” Hill said.