Bob Hill Rumors
With Robinson out to start the 1997-98 season, the Spurs struggled to a 3-14 start. On the day that Robinson returned, then-general manager Gregg Popovich fired Hill and took over as head coach. San Antonio won three of the next five games before Robinson suffered a season-ending foot fracture, leading the Spurs to a 20-62 season that put them in draft position to add Tim Duncan. Five NBA championships later, Popovich remains coach. “We did really well but that’s part of life,” said Hill, who has kept home base in Boerne, Texas, which is an hour northwest of San Antonio. “I guess I didn’t do good enough. I don’t know. He wanted to be the coach. And as soon as he had an opportunity to get rid of me, he did it. It’s too bad. The league’s like that sometimes. You’re going to run into people like that sometimes and that’s part of life. It was a great experience. I’m happy I had that. It hasn’t affected my coaching. I continued to coach and always will.”
Hill, meanwhile, embraces the challenge of working alongside Watson. “Earl played for me in Seattle and we had a terrific relationship that was framed with a desire to win,” Hill told The Japan Times. “He was an excellent practice player and obviously played hard at all times in the games. “He will be an outstanding coach in this league and I am thrilled that he reached out to me to join him. “The Phoenix Suns have always been a cornerstone of the NBA and it will be challenging and fun to help them get back to that level of competition.”
The Vertical: The Phoenix Suns hired four-time NBA head coach Bob Hill as an assistant coach, league sources tell The Vertical.
Seventeen years later, Popovich is a likely Hall of Fame coach with four NBA titles and one win from his fifth. Hill has lived in San Antonio for the past 11 years and has spent several years coaching in China, Taiwan, and Japan. “It’s part of life — [Popovich] always wanted to be the head coach, I just didn’t recognize it quick enough,” Hill said. “Listen, the last two games they have played against Miami have been just phenomenal. They have kicked Miami’s butt from one baseline to the other baseline, every facet of basketball, they’ve dominated. They’ve done it as a team and that’s a credit to the players. “When you play that well, you have to give them credit. They deserve it. What you’re witnessing with this team is real.”
When asked if he had any relationship with Popovich, Hill laughed and said, “No.” Hill said he doesn’t lament San Antonio’s success under Popovich. “If it was that hard [to deal with] I wouldn’t live here,” he said. “It’s not hard for me. I know what happened. It’s been interesting to watch the team grow. The great thing about the Spurs is they have a great team but they have really great people. It’s all come to fruition right now.” But when asked about those years, when the Spurs were in transition with an aging Robinson and before Duncan emerged as a possibility, Hill wishes things had turned out differently. “I didn’t have any idea [Popovich wanted to coach], I had an idea after the second year [in 1995-96] and two teams called and asked for permission to talk to me and they wouldn’t give them permission,” he said. “I had a pretty strong feeling at that point if he had a chance to fire me, he was going to. I probably should have just resigned and got out of here. I stayed and he got the job. I’m sure he had that in mind all along.”
Santa Cruz (Calif.) Warriors coach Casey Hill and staff are fully integrated and invested in the mission of the parent club, the Golden State Warriors. Hill, son of former NBA head coach Bob Hill, was promoted after two seasons as a Santa Cruz assistant. “The foundation of what we’re doing (in Santa Cruz) has a lot to do with what Golden State is doing,” said Hill, 30, who reports to Kirk Lacob, the Santa Cruz Warriors general manager and son of Golden State owner Joe Lacob. “I really paid attention during (Golden State) training camp. I got all their (offensive) actions, and we’re using all their terminology, using their actions. I feel I’m obligated to do that, because: A) It’s Golden State that’s running it. It’s their team, and this thing needs to be implemented where we’re developing players. … And, B) It’s my obligation to make it kind of a synergic kind of relationship where they send a player to us, he understands the system to us right away. Or if we send a player to them, he’s got a really good base knowledge of what they have set.”