Hill to transition to Maryland Eastern Shore

Cleo Hill, Jr.

Hill to transition to Maryland Eastern Shore
June 13
12:18 2024

Cleo Hill, Jr., current head men’s basketball coach, is transitioning to become the next head men’s basketball coach at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES) announced on Saturday, June 1.

“I want to thank Coach Hill for returning to his roots from childhood to lead the WSSU men’s basketball team and etching his place in the history books of WSSU men’s basketball while preserving the legacy, excellence, traditions, and championship success of those who came before him,” said Director of Athletics Etienne Thomas. “I am thankful to have had the opportunity to serve with someone who put the well-being of the student-athletes first, was coachable, and was willing to pivot. 

“Coach Hill and his staff ensured the men’s basketball student-athletes understood their place in this world and the expectations for achieving holistic success, the value of a college education, and cultivated respect for the brotherhood at the core of men’s basketball into each of his teams. I will miss seeing you look to the far wall of the Gaines Center before tip-off, but we know new traditions and pre-game rituals are on the horizon. Coach Hill, you will always be Ramily and have a home in the C.E. Gaines Center. From my first championship ever as an AD in 2020 to the final hurrah of the NBA All-star weekend with this year’s team, you and your staff understood the vision – protect the legacy. Job well done!”

Cleo Hill, Jr. was named the ninth head coach of the Winston-Salem State University men’s basketball program in the spring of 2018 and wasted no time leading the team into the next chapter in the storied history of Rams men’s basketball. The son of one of the most legendary players in school history, Cleo Hill Sr., Hill Jr wasted no time creating a strong place of his own in the history of Rams basketball. Hill led the Rams to a 19-9 overall record during the 2023-24 season, the best overall record in the CIAA, after coaching the Rams to a perfect 6-0 sweep of the Northern division. The Rams ranked in the D2CSC Atlantic rankings eight times, had two players (Jaylen Alston and Isaac Parson) named HBCU Player of the Week, saw Imajae Dodd earn multiple CIAA Defensive Weekly Awards, and Hill named the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) Men’s Coach of the Year.

Under Hill this year the Rams scored 70.3 points per game, finished second in the CIAA in scoring defense averaging 63.3 points per game, and first in scoring margin (7.5). Hill and the Rams finished second in field goal percentage (0.457), first in opponent field goal percentage (0.395), second in team 3-point field goal percentage (0.330), fourth in 3-point field goals made, and first in team defensive rebounds (26.7).

Hill guided the Rams in the 2022-23 season to become the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) Tournament Champions and secured the Automatic Bid to Division II postseason play. Player standouts under Hill’s tutelage were CIAA Tournament MVP Jaylen Alston, and All-Conference pick Jaylon Gibson. During the 22-23 season, the Rams saw great success during non-conference play, including competition vs. PSAC regional opponents when they won the Gary Miller Classic in Pennsylvania.

In his second season with the Rams, Hill led the team to its first CIAA Championship in eight years with a 31-25 overall record. In addition to the team’s tournament championship, the Rams also claimed a share of the 2019-20 CIAA Southern Division Championship. He was also named the 2019-20 CIAA Men’s Basketball Coach of the Year and helped the team to rank seventh in the nation in scoring defense and first in the CIAA and led a pair of Rams, Robert Colon, and William Crandell, to earn All-CIAA honors during his time. The Rams also made their first trip to the NCAA Division II Atlantic Region Tournament since 2013.

We wish Coach Hill well in his future endeavors.

Eric Wilson, associate head coach, will serve as the acting head coach for the Rams as a national search for a new head coach begins immediately.

For more information on WSSU Athletics, visit our website at and follow us on social media, WSSU Athletics (Twitter and Instagram), and WSSU Ram Athletics (Facebook).

About Author

WS Chronicle

WS Chronicle

Related Articles


Featured Sponsor

Receive Chronicle Updates

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.



More Sponsors