March 12, 2003

Columbia Coach Hill Dismissed

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Columbia fired men’s basketball head coach Armond Hill Monday after the Lions failed to win a single Ivy League game this season, going 0-14 in conference and 2-25 overall.

The Lions also lost a school-record 18 straight games this season, and finished ranked 323 in out of 327 Division I teams in the ratings percentage index. Columbia’s last win was on Dec. 27, an upset victory at Texas-El Paso.

Hill coached at Columbia for eight years, compiling a 72-141 record, including 33-79 in Ivy play. The Lions’ best season under Hill was 1999-2000, going 13-14 (7-7).

Columbia became the first school in Ivy League history to have both its football and men’s basketball teams go winless in conference games during the same academic year. Head football coach Bob Shoop was terminated in November following Columbia’s 0-7 conference record this past season.

Hill starred at Princeton during the mid-1970s, then later played for four different NBA teams. He was hired at Columbia in 1995. The 20th head basketball coach in school history, he had the fourth longest tenure.

Hill gained notoriety at Cornell last season following a mid-game run-in with a member of the Cornell pep band. During the Lions 54-42 victory over the Red last Jan. 26,

Hill allegedly called pep-band member Chad Potocky “a faggot” towards the end of the first half.

Under heavy criticism, Hill issued a formal apology to both the Columbia and Cornell communities later that week, calling his actions “unacceptable,” and “not representative of me or the way I think or conduct myself on a daily basis.”

Columbia athletic director John Reeves accepted the apology at the time and declared the issue dead at the time.

Since that game, the pep-band has been moved from behind the basket adjacent to the visiting bench to the student section on the opposite side of the floor in Newman Arena.

In Columbia’s first trip to Ithaca since the incident, the Red beat Columbia, 51-38, on Jan. 18.

Cornell completed the season sweep over the Lions, 55-53, one week later at Morningside Heights.

Archived article by Owen Bochner