May 6, 2013
COLUMBIA, S.C. -- South Carolina associate men's head golf coach Don Hill has accepted the head coaching position at Elon University, Elon Athletics Director Dave Blank announced Monday.
Hill takes over for longtime Phoenix coach Bill Morningstar, who retired after 41 years with the school.
"I have to start with a huge thank you to South Carolina director of golf Puggy Blackmon, men's head coach Bill McDonald and women's head coach Kalen Harris for bringing me to Columbia," Hill said. "I would also be remiss if I didn't thank the players that are carrying that Garnet and Black golf bag. Because of their hard work and sacrifice, they have given me the opportunity to chase my dreams of being a head golf coach. I'm thrilled and honored to be named the head men's golf coach at Elon. There are many challenges that lie ahead, and I appreciate Athletics Director Dave Blank's trust in me to take Phoenix golf to the next level. Elon is a great university with a tremendous academic reputation. Coach Morningstar left me some big shoes to fill, and I welcome the opportunity."
During Hill's time in Columbia, the Gamecocks have risen in the national rankings each year and are ranked No. 20 by Golfstat heading into NCAA Regional play this season. After guiding Carolina to an NCAA Southwest Regional bid last season, Hill helped the Gamecocks secure their second-straight regional berth this season. Carolina had one of its most successful regular seasons in recent history as it recorded five top-three finishes, including a win at the Wendy's Kiawah Classic and a pair of runner-up finishes. At the SEC Championship, the Gamecocks finished runner-up to second-ranked Alabama, the program's highest finish since a second-place showing in 2008.
Three Gamecocks have earned All-SEC accolades during Hill's tenure. Caleb Sturgeon, who finished runner-up at this year's SEC Championship, was selected to the SEC All-Freshman Team in 2012. Freshman Matt NeSmith was named Co-SEC Freshman of the Year this season and also earned a spot on the SEC All-Freshman Team, and senior Dykes Harbin earned second-team All-SEC honors this year.
"Coach Hill has been an invaluable asset to me for the past two years and he has done an incredible job of impacting our golf program here at South Carolina," McDonald said. "His ability to relate to our players on all levels, recruit relentlessly and his organizational abilities have been crucial to our success as a golf program. Coach Hill's influence on our golf program has had a direct impact on our resurgence nationally, and I have no doubt he will excel as a head coach. Coach Hill will be sorely missed here in Columbia, and we all wish him great success at Elon."
South Carolina Athletics Director Ray Tanner added, "Coach Hill has done a tremendous job in helping build a national-caliber program here at the University of South Carolina. Elon has made a great choice in hiring him to lead their men's golf program. We wish him and his wife Lizzie the very best. They will be ambassadors and leaders in the Phoenix community."
Prior to coming to Columbia, Hill spent eight years as the assistant men's golf coach at North Carolina. Hill joined the UNC coaching staff after working one year with UNC's Rams Club as a graduate intern and playing on golf mini tours from 1999-2001. In his time at North Carolina, the Tar Heels won 10 tournaments, including the ACC Championship in 2006, and five Tar Heels captured seven individual championships. Hill coached three All-Americans at North Carolina, Martin Ureta in 2005 and 2006, Dustin Bray in 2002-04 and Kevin O'Connell in 2008.
Hill also played for the Tar Heels (1995, 1997-99) and was a two-time All-ACC performer and two-time honorable mention All-American in 1998 and 1999. He helped lead North Carolina to 10th-place NCAA finishes in 1997 and 1999. He was the runner-up at the 1998 ACC Championship and finished 10th at the 1999 NCAA Championship.
A native of Mount Olive, N.C., and a four-year golf standout at Southern Wayne High School, Hill graduated from North Carolina in 1999 with a degree in communications. He is married to the former Lizzie Stewart.
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