Honorees 2017 >>
Matt Hill

ASU Tennis Coach

Matt Hill is undaunted by challenges. The new Sun Devils men's tennis coach helped turn around programs at Mississippi State and at South Florida, where he was a three-time American Athletic Conference Coach of the Year.

 

Matt Hill"I've been a part of some great programs, but the opportunity to start a program back up that had been shut down for a while is a very different kind of challenge," Hill said of ASU men's tennis, which has been dormant since 2008. "We are working with a blank canvas in men's tennis and that makes it exciting when you imagine the possibilities, I live to be challenged."

Not always by choice. Sixteen years ago, Hill was experiencing pain in his right knee that wouldn't subside. The eventual diagnosis was osteosarcoma, the most common type of bone cancer. With his parents by his side, Hill underwent an aggressive form of chemotherapy for six months. "During one of his last treatments he begged me to let him die," Hill's father said. "He was curled up in the fetal position, IVs everywhere, he was throwing up, he had lost his hair and he had lost a lot of weight. They told us to just keep him moving and coming back so I said, 'Matt, I'll give you five minutes to have a pity party then I'll come back and drag you down the hallway and we'll have a good walk.' It was awful but we kept doing it, he made it."

Hill remembers it all very clearly. "I saw a lot of suffering greater than mine during my time in the hospital that caused me to rethink life, too, and I still catch myself getting upset over something minor or taking some things for granted." When Hill emerged, cancer-free, he realized that he genuinely enjoyed coaching. Not one to take anything for granted, Hill embarked upon a successful tennis coaching career that, fortunately for us, led him to yet another challenge at ASU where his tenacity and courage play out on the men's tennis court.

 
 
 
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