Coach Hill's Bio
Winston-Salem State University
Title: Head Men's Basketball Coach
Phone: (336) 750-2140
Alma Mater: North Carolina Central, 1994
Cleo Hill Jr. – Coaching Highlights
CIAA Coach of the Year, 2012, 2020
BOXTOROW Coach of the Year, 2011 and 2012
National Sportscasters and Sports Writers Association (NSSA) NCAA Division II Clarence "Big House" Gaines Coach of the Year, 2011
Pennsylvania Sports Athletic Conference (PSAC) Coach of the Year, 2008
Five NCAA Division II playoff berths (Cheyney, Shaw, WSSU)
CIAA championship (Shaw) 2011, WSSU 2020, 2023.
The Winston-Salem State University (WSSU) men’s basketball program will look to its past to forge its future with the announcement of Cleo Hill Jr. as the head coach of the Rams men’s basketball program.
“There were 104 applicants for the position, which speaks to the excitement around Winston-Salem State University basketball,” said WSSU Director of Athletics Tonia Walker. “After a thorough search process, there was no doubt that we have found the best candidate to usher in a new era for men’s basketball. Cleo Hill Jr. has been successful at nearly all levels of college basketball—as a player, assistant coach, and head coach.”
Hill was introduced as WSSU’s ninth coach during an introductory press conference on Monday, May 21.
“We are thrilled to have Cleo Hill Jr. on board,” said WSSU Chancellor Elwood L. Robinson. “He is uniquely qualified to lead our men’s basketball program. He understands WSSU’s legacy as a basketball powerhouse, and possesses the leadership, skill, and experience to take our men’s basketball program to the next level.”
Hill had a successful run as the head coach at Shaw University from 2008-15, where he led the Bears to a 116-67 record in seven seasons. In 2011, he guided the Bears to their first Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) championship and an appearance in the NCAA Division II Atlantic Region Tournament.
Prior to leading the Shaw, Hill spent five years as the head coach at Cheyney University where he led the Wolves to a 55-67 record, including a 23-8 record in the 2003-04 season. The Wolves also saw a pair of appearances in the NCAA Division II playoffs.
In addition to his experience as a head coach, Hill spent time as assistant coach at the University of Nebraska.
As a player at North Carolina Central University, Hill was selected to the South Atlantic Region All-Tournament team as a senior and is still among the school’s all-time leading scorers.
A native of Orange, New Jersey, Hill is the son of Rams basketball legend, the late Cleo Hill Sr., a 2017 National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame inductee. Hill Sr., a 6-1 guard, scored 2,488 points in his career at WSSU, second only to Earl “The Pearl” Monroe. He was drafted eighth in the 1961 NBA draft by the St. Louis Hawk, the first player from an HBCU drafted in the NBA first round. Hill’s jersey was officially retired in 2017 and is in a place of honor at WSSU’s C.E. Gaines Center.
Cleo Hill Jr. continues to lead Winston-Salem State to greater levels
It's only been 5 years, but Coach Cleo Hill has made quite a difference to the Winston-Salem State University men's basketball program. Here are just a few of his accomplishments: - 2020 & 2023 CIAA Championships - 2020 & 2023 NCAA Division II Tournament bids - 2020 CIAA Coach of the Year - 21 game home winning streak in CE Gaines Center - 6 All-Conference players in 5 years - 2 Southern Division Championships in 3 years - Champions of the Gannon Thanksgiving Classic 2022 - 1 Player drafted in the 2022 NBA development league We can only expect more greatness under his leadership.
Shaw's Cleo Hill Jr. receives national coaching award
The National Sportscasters and Sportscasters Association & Hall of Fame has chosen Shaw Head Basketball Coach Cleo Hill, Jr. as the NCAA Div. II winner of the inaugural Clarence E. ‘Big House’ Gaines College Basketball Coach of the Year Award. Virginia Commonwealth head coach Shaka Smart won the Div. I award. The Awards were presented at the NSSA's 52nd Annual Awards Banquet on Saturday, May 14 at Catawba College's Goodman Gym. Hill, Jr. was named the head men's basketball coach at Shaw on April 10, 2008 and just finished the most successful of his three seasons there, posting a 23-9 overall mark, winning the CIAA Basketball Tournament championship and earning an NCAA Tournament berth – his third tournament appearance as a head coach.
Wolves Receive Bid to NCAA Tournament
March 9, 2008 - Cheyney (19-9) will Ье the flfth seed in the East Region of the NCM Division 11 tournament set to tip-off on Saturday, March 15 at number one seed California (РА) (25-5). Cheyney will play the fourth seed Alderson Broaddus College (25-6). А-В won the West Virginia lntercollegiate Athletic Conference automatic Ьid Ьу winning the WVIAC Tournament. Mount Olive College (24-6) of the Carolina Conference was awarded the second seed Ьу virtue of winning the Carolina Conference post-season tournament. Edinboro (24-6) earned an at large Ьid and will Ье seeded third. The sixth seed is Millersville (20-9). The seventh seed is the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown (22-7)and the eighth seed was awarded to Queens College of Charlotte (21-9). The sixty-four team draw was announced Ьу the NCM late tonight. All of the games at the East Regional will Ье contested at Cal's Hammer Hall. Tip-off times for the first round games will Ье announced Monday. This is the second time in Coach Cleo Hill Jr.'s five years at Cheyney that he is taking а team to the Big Dance. ln 2004, Cheyney was also the fifth seed and defeated California in the first round before falling to Pfeiffer in the second round. This month marks the thirtieth anniversary of the Wolves National Championship. March 18, 1978, Cheyney won the NCM Division 11 National BasketЬall Title over the University of Wisconsin at Green Вау. The winner of the East Region will meet-up with the winners of the other seven regions in Springfield, МA for the Elite Eight beginning March 26 and concluding with the National Championship game on March 29.
Shaw's Ronald Murray is the next CIAA NBA 2nd Round Pick
RALEIGH - As the NBA draft approaches, Shaw University's Ronald Murray is lurking in his usual place -- the shadow of the Triangle's better-known, big-school basketball stars. Before the first name is even called Wednesday night, Duke's junior triumvirate of Jay Williams, Mike Dunleavy and Carlos Boozer and former Enloe High School star Chris Wilcox of Maryland have become celebrities to NBA fans. All are considered certain first-round draft picks, with Williams, Dunleavy and Wilcox expected to be among the first 10 players selected. Meanwhile, Murray quietly remains on the NBA radar screen, with a chance to establish his own firsts. The 6-foot-4 guard would be the first Shaw player drafted by an NBA team, according to the school, and if he sneaks into the first round, he'll be the first CIAA player to do so since Virginia Union's Charles Oakley in 1985. "I think he'll be drafted," said Keith Drum, a Durham-based scout for the Sacramento Kings. "It could be late first round or early second round. There are probably 20 guys for the first 18 spots in the first round and about 30 guys for the last 10 spots."
Coach Cleo Hill Jr. brings solid skills to Nebraska
After recruiting a point guard to replace the vacancy left by Tyronn Lue, Coach Danny Nee filled another vacancy May 29, when he hired Cleo Hill Jr. as his new assistant coach. Hill comes to Nebraska from Mount Zion Christian Academy, where he was an assistant coach for the past two seasons. In the last six seasons, Mount Zion, located in Durham, N.C., has seen more than 30 of its players earn scholarships to Division I schools. In addition, 1997 Mount Zion graduate Tracy McGrady went directly to the National Basketball Association and played for the Toronto Raptors. With Hill on the staff, Mount Zion posted a 26-2 record in 1996-97 and a 26-5 in 1997-98. He scouted all of Mount Zion's opponents and was in charge of organizing the team's offensive sets. Nee said Hill brought solid skills to Nebraska, which could improve the Huskers' recruiting in the Eastern part of the country. "After a nationwide search and talking with a number of people, we felt Cleo Hill was the best man for the job," Nee said. "He is very well connected in the basketball world, and we feel he can really help us with our recruiting on the East Coast. "He also relates extremely well to young student athletes." Mount Zion Head Coach Joel Hopkins echoed Nee's assessment of Hill's coaching talents. "Cleo comes from a rich basketball background," Hopkins said. "He is a very, very strong recruiter and he relates well to today's young players. Nebraska is getting a hard worker and a fine man to add to the Cornhusker family."
ELIZABETH CITY, NJ.
At EKB Roundball Showcase, New Jersey's undiscovered basketball players get a chance
Ben Merritt woke up Sunday morning, devoured a quick breakfast and tried to avoid thinking about the numbing pressure. Deep in his mind he knew the clock was ticking on his chance to earn a college basketball scholarship. But as soon as he walked into the Dunn Center at Elizabeth High School, he realized he had come to the right place for that last opportunity. A wiry 6-6 forward from Kingsway High in Woolwich Township, Merritt scanned the gym at the EKB Roundball Showcase and saw courts teeming with college scouts. They wore bright-colored jackets, T-shirts and sweatsuits bearing their school logos, and jotted notes as they flipped through pamphlets describing each player in attendance. After a pair of games, the sweat-coated Merritt was approached by coaches from three colleges. One by one, they made their pitches. “I got a lot of looks here today,” said Merritt, a sleeper prospect who wasn’t even a starter this season at Kingsway. “It was thrilling. It was quite an experience. I’m not going to forget it — the thrill of a coach coming up to you, knowing that he wants you on his team, that your career will extend past high school.” Today on National Signing Day for high school basketball players, blue-chippers will ink their names on letters-of-intent and pledge to play for the basketball blue bloods: Kentucky, North Carolina, Duke.
ORANGE CITY, NJ.
Orange Drops Paterson Catholic To Win Tournament Of Champions The Tornadoes Prevailed, 64-55
The State Group 3 Champions Went Home With The Overall Title. PRINCETON — Orange High proved to be the best third-seeded boys' basketball team in the six-year history of the Tournament of Champions. The Tornadoes became the first team not seeded first or second to win the Tournament of Champions boys' title, defeating top-seeded Paterson Catholic, 64-55, yesterday at Princeton University. Orange finished 25-3, losing all three games to Clifford Scott, a team the Tornadoes also beat once this season. Paterson Catholic, which hadn't lost to a New Jersey team all season, finished 26-3. In the previous five Tournament of Champions title games, the top seed won four times and a second seed won once. Early in yesterday's game, that streak looked as if it would stay intact. Paterson Catholic, the Parochial B state champion, took a 13-2 lead before Orange regrouped. "We had to regain our composure in the beginning," Orange coach Al Thompson said. "We had to settle down. Being in the championship for the first time, we were a little anxious."