When Emonte Hill was a student and basketball player at Frederick Community College, he jotted down some life goals on a piece of paper.
One of them was becoming FCC’s basketball coach if the program’s longtime coach, Dave Miller, retired. And Hill has been doing that very job for the past six years.
But that wasn’t the only job on Hill’s list.
“Another goal on there was, if possible, I would love to coach at Frederick High School,” Hill said.
Turns out, it was possible.
Hill has been hired as the Cadets’ new boys basketball varsity head coach, returning to coach at yet another alma mater.
Hill replaces Greg Schreiber, who stepped down after last season. Hill accepted the position on Friday, and the official announcement was made Monday.
“As much as FCC was a dream come true, to be a head coach there, I can honestly tell you that this is another dream come true,” Hill said. “It wasn’t planned, I never knew that this opportunity was going to come about.
“But when it did, I inquired, I interviewed and I was offered and came to a tough decision,” he said. “I can’t tell you how tough. But I came to a decision to go back home.”
Hill graduated from Frederick High in 1997, starring as a point guard for the Cadets before going on to play at FCC and University of South Carolina-Spartanburg.
After building his foundation at Frederick, and always keeping a “once a Cadet, always a Cadet” mindset, Hill couldn’t resist the pull of returning to his alma mater. In fact, he couldn’t imagine any other opportunity prying him away from FCC.
“It couldn’t have been any other school. I don’t care how much talent they had or did not have,” Hill said. “It would not have been even a thought to leave what we were building at FCC or what we have built to go anywhere else if it wasn’t Frederick High School.”
This is Hill’s first stint as a high school basketball coach. He spent 10 years as an assistant at Hood College under Tom Dickman before taking the helm at FCC, where he enjoyed some fine seasons.
Hill, who posted a 92-79 record at FCC, guided the Cougars to a Region XX B title and a trip to the national tournament in 2015-16. He also led them to the Maryland JuCo championship in 2014-15, and the Cougars went 20-11 this past season.
“He’s a Frederick High School alumni and a proven winner,” Frederick athletic director Keivette Hammond said. “He went to FCC, where his first season there, they only won three games. And then he [turned them into] a national contender.”
Hammond said a lot of quality candidates expressed interest in the job.
“And that’s understandable with 110 years of boys basketball history here at Frederick High,” she said. “So I think it’s a highly sought-after opportunity.”
Making the rounds as a recruiter, Hill is familiar with the team he now helms.
“We think the future’s bright. We think we have an opportunity to compete right away,” he said. “But at the same time, we also know we’re going to have to be patient with the process.”
As always, Hill will be a coach who preaches tough defense. Granted, the type of defense might change as he moves from college, where it’s tough to consistently force turnovers with full-court presses, to high school.
“Now I think we’re going to try to create a little bit more excitement at the high school level,” he said. “And we’re going to be a 94-feet type of team, and we’re going to come after you defensively.”
Hill said the University of Maryland’s Xfinity Center, where the MPSSAA state tournament is held, is the goal for the Cadets.
Long after making that list at FCC, Hill is still eyeing up goals.