SAN ANTONIO – Trinity head coach Cameron Hill has one of the best winning percentages in NCAA Women’s basketball.
In his 11 years at the helm, the Tigers have amassed 249 total wins against 48 losses. That’s a win-rate of 83.8%, which is currently third-best in Division III and top-15 counting the rest of the NCAA’s active coaches. Recently, that success has reached a new level, including three straight Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference titles and two straight appearances in the NCAA Division III National tournament’s Sweet 16.
Ask him about Trinity’s success, and Hill is always quick to point out that the players have created and sustained a winning culture. That’s undoubtedly a big piece of the equation. But there might be another reason that the Tigers have been so dominant: a formerly black San Francisco Giants hat. Now faded and visibly tattered in places, Hill continues to wear the hat every practice for good luck.
“This was a gift from my athletic director, and I started wearing it the moment I got here,” Hill explained. “I’m just a superstitious guy. It’s just the hat. I like the Giants, but it’s not a fan thing. It’s more just the hat. It’s got a pretty good winning percentage, so it’s going to ride until it falls apart.”
Hill’s hat has needed repairs to stay in one piece. He’s refurbished the back of it twice and even personally used some stitching needles to keep it together. During Trinity’s run to their record ninth SCAC title a couple weeks ago, it broke down again. He got some help from his best friend Kyle, who then took the hat to his mother for reconstruction. He donned it once again this week as the team prepares for their next opponent in the NCAA tournament.
“[Kyle] hooked that up for me, which was a big help,” Hill said. “There’s a lot of people invested in this hat surviving for a few more years.”
Hill and Trinity travel to Massachusetts to face Tufts in the NCAA Division III third round Friday night. Tip-off is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. San Antonio time.