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.
PRESS CONFERENCE HIGHLIGHTS
“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
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. will take over one of the most storied basketball programs
in NCAA basketball. In its 70-year history, WSSU has won 11 CIAA titles
and became the first historically Black college to win an NCAA basketball
championship in 1967.
Tickets are on sale now for WSSU Athletics’ All-Access Card, which
includes admission to all home 2018-19 basketball, baseball and football
games for as low as $100. For more information, visit
For more information on Rams men’s basketball, contact the WSSU Office of
Athletic Media Relations at 336-750-2143 or log on to www.WSSURams.com.
Cleo Hill, Jr. – Coaching Highlights
CIAA Coach of the Year, 2012 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
Four NCAA Division II playoff berths (Cheyney, Shaw) CIAA championship