When the phone rang Wednesday, longtime Gainesville High coach Manson Hill didn’t realize he was about to receive one of the highest honors for high school coaches in the state. Following a 39-year career, 22 of those at Gainesville High, Hill found out from the caller on the other end that he was tabbed to join the 2017 class of the Georgia Athletic Coaches Association Hall of Fame.
The ceremony induction is June 2-3 at the Northwest Georgia Trade Center in Dalton.
“So many good coaches were nominated that did not make the list,” Hill said. “There are some coaches who did not make the list that are better than me. I think (former Gainesville boys basketball coach) Jerry Davis, who was my mentor, is better then me, should have made the list. It feels nice that people nominated me.
“I feel blessed and humble that I made it.”
At Gainesville, Hill coached the Lady Red Elephants to four state championships in girls basketball, two state titles in golf, and a pair of state semifinal spots for the tennis programs.
During his career, Hill also spent time at Johnson, Habersham Central and most recently South Forsyth.
Hill also coached elite talent on the basketball court like All-American Tasha Humphrey and 1994 Miss Georgia Basketball Mahogany Hudson. Five times one of his golfers won a state title while coaching it for 11 years.
“It was easier to win when I had great players,” Hill said. “I had seven All-State (basketball) players, players that played at the collegiate level and two Miss Georgia Basketball players.”
His stint at Gainesville High was sustained by its legendary football coach Bobby Gruhn. It started rocked with the Red Elephants, compiling a 4-19 record his first season and 1-22 his second year.
“Coach Gruhn came to me and said that we want you to come to Gainesville,” Hill said. “I did not even decide to apply there.”
In 1994, Hill was name the all-classification GACA Coach of the Year. In 2003, he was name the Atlanta Tip-off Metro Atlanta Coach of the year.
Hill did not think he was going to coach so long when he started his coaching career. When he started teaching mathematics and coaching, he thought that he would leave to join the business world or go into working with computers.
Every year when April came around, he asked him self if he wanted to continue coaching all the way until his retirement.