OU basketball: Lew Hill, UTRGV head coach and former Sooners assistant, dies at 55
NORMAN — Longtime OU basketball assistant Lew Hill, who was in his fifth season as the head coach at Texas-Rio Grande Valley, died in his sleep after coaching Saturday night.
Hill was 55.
Hill joined Lon Kruger's staff at UNLV in 2004 and stayed with Kruger when he moved to coach the Sooners in 2011.
Hill played a big role in building the team that made the 2016 Final Four run, including recruiting — and developing — Isaiah Cousins, who like Hill was from Mount Vernon, New York.
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“It’s not just about basketball because if basketball is all I could give him then I’m no good for him,” Hill said of Cousins in 2014. “I’ve got to give him life lessons that I messed up on that I can help him with. I just want to be a person that he can trust, that he can talk to about anything.”
After the Sooners' Final Four run in 2016, Hill took over at UTRGV, where he went 67-77 over the last five seasons.
The Vaqueros were off to an 8-4 start this season, falling at Texas Southern 77-75 on Saturday night.
"Just crushing news," OU athletic director Joe Castiglione posted on Twitter. "No words. Lew was so well-respected/loved by all during his years at OU. We closely followed/cheered for his success since. Heartbroken for Renee and the kids. Lew always worked for everyone's best interests. Players loved him. Rest in Peace Coach."
Oklahoma State coach Mike Boynton, who is also from the New York City area, reacted on Twitter as well.