Cleo Hill, Jr. was named the ninth head coach of the Winston-Salem State University men’s basketball program in the spring of 2018 and he leads the team into the next chapter in the storied history of Rams men’s basketball. The son of one of the most legendary players in school history, Hill, Jr. has wasted no time in creating a strong place of his own in the history of Rams basketball.
In just two seasons with the Rams, Hill, Jr. led the team to its first Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) championship in eight years and a 31-25 overall record. In addition to the team’s tournament championship, the Rams also claimed a share of the 2019-20 CIAA Southern Division Championship. Along the way, he was named the 2019-20 CIAA Men’s Basketball Coach of the Year and helped the team to rank seventh in the nation in scoring defense and first in the CIAA. He also led a pair of Rams to earn All-CIAA honors during his time. The Rams also made their first trip to the NCAA Division II Atlantic Region Tournament since 2013.
Prior to taking the reins of the WSSU program, Hill, Jr. 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.
Hill, Jr.’s coaching success didn’t begin at Shaw. He also had a very successful run as the head coach of the Shaw Bears. Hill, Jr. 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, Hill, Jr. carried on his family’s history of successful basketball playing careers at North Carolina Central University where he 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.