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Dr. Richard A. Hill, senior associate director of athletics at the University of Louisville and former track coach to Edwin Moses, Bob Hayes, Willie Davenport and other world record-holders, was named Wednesday (Aug. 26) as director of athletics at MIT.
Dr. Hill, 55, is responsible for the day-to-day operation of the athletic department and supervises 19 men's and women's varsity sports programs and support services at Louisville. He has been senior associate athletic director for the past six years at the Kentucky university, and served as acting director in 1988, when the director was on leave.
He was director of athletics and professor of physical education from 1981 to 1986 at Southern University in Louisiana, and was head coach of men's cross-country and track for nine years at San Diego State University. His student-athletes won five national championships and have tied or broken over 30 world records.
In announcing Dr. Hill's appointment, effective on September 1, MIT Vice President Constantine Simonides, to whom the athletic department reports, said: "Dr. Hill is a charismatic leader and coach, an educator, and a distinguished decathlete himself. As an effective sports administrator for 11 years at the University of Louisville and Southern University, and outstanding coach for 18 years in California, Louisiana and Florida, Dick Hill is superbly well qualified to lead one of the nation's best programs in physical education and athletics."
Thomas Allen, Gordon Y Billard Fund professor of management, and chairman of the MIT Athletic Board and of the advisory committee on the selection of the new director, said: "When we took on the job we knew that Royce Flippin would be difficult to replace. We were very fortunate to identify such an outstanding successor."
Professor Flippin, MIT's athletic director for the past 12 years and, as of September 1, a director in MIT's New York City development office, said he is looking forward to working with Dr. Hill in raising money to support MIT's athletic program for the years ahead.
Professor Flippin said: "Dick Hill's enthusiasm and understanding for sports is reflected in his own high school and college record as a star in basketball, football, track, baseball, and golf, and through his training and teaching experience in anaerobics and movement. We are proud of the administrators, coaches and students he will work with at MIT."
Since 1980, MIT coaches have received national or regional honors in 12 sports, and 127 students in 16 different sports have received All-America honors.
Dr. Hill said: "MIT's sports program enjoys a national reputation for its scholar-athletes, its unique scope and quality, and the broad participation by two-thirds of the university's 10,000 undergraduate and graduate students. It is an athletic director's dream to be associated with such a program."
Dr. Hill was born in and grew up in Yonkers, NY. He played baseball, basketball, football and golf at Charles E. Gorton High School in Yonkers, and was recruited by Southern University in Baton Rouge, LA, where he graduated cum laude in 1960 with a BS in Physical Education. He was the first student from a predominantly black college to earn a National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Scholar-Athlete Graduate Scholarship.
He received his master's degree in education from the University of Buffalo in 1962. In sports, he was a member of the New York AAU national basketball team for two years, and he won the Western New York state decathlon championship in 1962.
As head track coach at Florida A&M University from 1962 to 1964, he coached 1964 Olympic 100-meter champion Bob Hayes, "the world's fastest human," and guided the team to conference championships in 1963 and 1964.
From 1965 to 1969, and in 1971-72, he was Southern University's head track coach, guiding them to five straight NAIA track championships. He was named NAIA Coach of the year in 1965, and Southern was honored by Track and Field News as having the nation's best collegiate track program in the decade of the 1960s.
Dr. Hill received his doctorate in exercise physiology in 1970 at the State University of New York at Buffalo.
From 1972 to 1981, he was head track coach at San Diego State University; he was named NCAA District 7 Coach of the Year in 1981.
In 1981, Dr. Hill became director of athletics at Southern University. Under his leadership, the 9,000-student university won four straight Southwestern Athletic Conference All-Sports Trophies for the conferences' most successful athletic program.
Dr. Hill was married in 1963 to Mary Freddie of Lake Charles, Louisiana. They have a son, Richard Junior (26) of Upland, California, and a daughter, Rosalind Marie (24) of Los Angeles, California.
A version of this article appeared in the August 26, 1992 issue of MIT Tech Talk (Volume 37, Number 2).