COLUMBIA, S.C. -- Madre Hill remembers he was a young
sophomore who was challenged by then-Arkansas coach Danny Ford to
run harder and produce more on the field.
Against South Carolina in 1995, Hill showed everyone he got the
message. Hill, who set a Razorbacks record six touchdowns in a
51-21 victory over the Gamecocks nine years ago, was picked by new
South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier as the team's running back
"I was just trying to win a championship that season, so my
focus was to score as much as I could," Hill said from his new
office Saturday night.
Hill, who is black, is also the first assistant named since the
Black Coaches Association urged coaches and prospective players to
stay away from South Carolina because it did not look at minority
candidates or respond to the group's guidelines before hiring
Spurrier as Lou Holtz's replacement last month.
Hill said he supports the BCA's mission. He thanked Spurrier and
South Carolina athletic director Mike McGee for allowing him to
achieve a lifelong dream of coaching. Asked if he reconsidered
coming to South Carolina after hearing the BCA's stance, Hill said,
"That's all I'm going to say about that."
Hill most likely fills out Spurrier's offensive staff.
Naturally, Spurrier will serve as his own offensive coordinator
along with coaching quarterbacks. Steve Spurrier Jr. joined his
father this month to coach receivers. Holtz holdovers David Reaves
and Rick Stockstill are also expected to hold offensive positions.
Hill says his only connections to Spurrier before now were
playing against Florida in the 1995 Southeastern Conference
championship game and going against Spurrier's Washington Redskins
in the NFL in 2002 and 2003.
Hill says South Carolina has a deep and varied group of runners
who can succeed in the SEC.
"This is a great opportunity and I am fully committed to
helping South Carolina become a championship team," Hill said.
Spurrier was excited to have Hill on his side this time.
"He brings a lot of excitement, energy and enthusiasm to our
football program," he said.
Gamecock supporters remember Hill bringing them much
Hill was a highly regarded sophomore still trying to find his
way that September Saturday in 1995. He apparently found something
against the Gamecocks, rushing for 178 yards and a school-record
six touchdowns in a 51-21 victory. He rushed in from 3, 1, 2, 1, 12
and 68 yards in the rout, breaking the Arkansas touchdown record
that was set in 1916 and tied in 1981.
"It wasn't something I thought a lot about," Hill said of his
record-setting TD game. "It just happened that way."
Hill went on to a school record 1,387 yards that season to lead
the SEC in rushing and take the Razorbacks into the league's
championship game as Western Division champions -- where they lost
to Spurrier's Gators.
But injuries followed Hill after that. He missed all of the 1996
season after hurting his right knee. Reconstructive surgery to his
left knee the following spring slowed him during 1997.
Hill, though, returned in 1998, just in time to vex South
Carolina again, scoring on a 30-yard touchdown run in Arkansas'
41-28 victory at Williams-Brice Stadium.
After college, Hill was drafted in 1999 by the Cleveland Browns.
He was also with Oakland in 2002 when it reached the Super Bowl.
Hill, 28, returned to Arkansas and earned his bachelor's degree
this year. He was a graduate assistant coach under the Razorbacks'
Houston Nutt this past fall.
Hill is ready to coach and help Gamecock runners achieve. "It's
going to be baby steps at first, but then we're going to crawl,
then we're going to walk and finally run," he said. "That starts
And maybe teach a couple of Gamecock runners to do as well as