Former associate head coach at the University of Southern Mississippi and head coach at Valdosta State Kiley Hill has been named head women’s basketball coach at Western Carolina University Director of Athletics, Randy Eaton announced Monday. Hill’s contract was approved by the WCU Board of Trustees in a special session Monday.
“Molly, Whitley, Skyler and I are so blessed and grateful to have been chosen to lead the Western Carolina women’s basketball program,” said Hill. “The circumstances are unique and the challenges ahead are simply that – challenges. We are elated to have the opportunity to serve the surrounding communities and the WCU family, but most importantly, we are excited to share new journeys with some young people who have been through some ups and downs over the past several months.”
A veteran coach with more than 25 years of experience in collegiate women’s basketball including 17 as a head coach, Hill comes to Western Carolina after spending the last three seasons as the associate head coach at Conference USA-member, Southern Miss in Hattiesburg, Miss. His experience also includes a 16-year stint as the head coach at Valdosta State in Georgia, and a four-year term at West Alabama in Livingston, Ala. – one as head coach preceded by three as the assistant coach and recruiting coordinator.
“We plan to provide a ‘purple-print’ of success for the short term and long haul that focuses on stability and consistency toward a purpose. We want to guide each of our student-athletes toward an experience geared toward being genuine, competitive and empowering beyond a 94 X 50 court,” Hill said. “How we measure and place value on that success will be varied, but we know that by what we have been exposed to during the search process, Cullowhee and Western Carolina are places that once you get here you fall in love and cherish the beauty of the mountain-scape and more importantly the people who you share it with. In addition, with Dr. Kelli Brown coming on board as chancellor, the dynamic ‘all-in’ athletics coaches, administrative staff and academic programs, WCU is poised to be even more special in the years to come.”
As the associate head coach at Southern Miss, Hill helped the team amass a record of 56-40 including a 23-11 tally in the 2016-17 season that finished with a return to the Conference USA championship game. Hill’s experience helped an undersized squad, nicknamed the “Feisty Bunch,” rank 11th nationally for total steals (370) and finish No. 20 in steals per game (10.9).
In the 2017-18 season with the Eagles, Hill helped 10 players surpass their career-highs in season points.
This past season, 2018-19, Hill and the Eagles strung together a record of 18-14, reaching the second round of the Women’s Basketball Invitational (WBI) postseason tournament before being edged by North Alabama 69-65.
The Eagles had an All-Conference USA selection as the team ranked third in the conference in scoring defense limiting opponents to an average of 59.1 points per game while also ranking second in steals (8.9).
Hill came to Southern Miss following a 16-year stint as head women’s basketball coach at Valdosta State where he compiled a 279-177 record.
During his time at Valdosta, Hill was named the GSC East Coach of the Year twice.
Hill advanced to postseason play 14 times during his tenure at VSU. Ten of his 16 teams ranked in the Top-10 or no lower than 25th in the nation in team defense. He had six teams finish in the top two in the Gulf South Conference Eastern Division and collectively, averaged 19 wins over his last 10 seasons.
Western Carolina returns eight players from last year’s squad with four underclassmen including the Southern Conference Sports Media Association (SCSMA) Freshman of the Year, Jewel Smalls, and will be adding three newcomers to the club.