EAST ORANGE, NJ – Fred Hill, a legendary athlete and coach who grew up in East Orange, died last weekend. He was 84 years old.
As an athlete at Clifford Scott High School and Upsala College in East Orange, Hill sparkled in football, basketball and baseball. He was a successful coach at several schools, particularly at Rutgers University in baseball. He coached several players that made it to the Major Leagues, including Todd Frazier of the Mets.
At Upsala, he was part of the famed 4-H backfield in the mid 1950s. That group also included Bill Holt, Tom Henderson, and Norm Hinkes, who vied at quarterback. John Hooper was the youthful head coach.
“We operated out of the split-T formation,” said Holt, who was a former city councilman in East Orange. “We all did a pretty good job of running the football.
“Losing Fred is tough, because he was a great friend. He helped a lot of people in the sports field and will be truly missed.”
Holt played with Hill in football and baseball at Clifford Scott and Upsala. Holt graduated from Upsala in 1956 and Hill graduated the following year.
While at Rutgers, Hill had some legendary battles on the diamond with Mike Sheppard Sr. of Seton Hall University. At the time, both schools were members of the Big East Conference.
Hill won well over 1,000 games, mostly at Rutgers.
While at Upsala, Hill was a great teammate of legendary pitcher Bill “Doc” Pollak, who was a 300-game winner in the old Essex County Baseball League. Pollak was a prominent dentist in the local area for many years.