The 5’ 11” Hill, who played for the Demons under her father, Coach Steve Hill, from 1980 to 1983, was the most prolific scorer in Colorado girls’ basketball history. She set 21 scoring records during her career, 17 of which remain unsurpassed 30 years later. These are Colorado records for any size school, from the smallest 1A (which was Ridgway’s classification then) to the biggest 5A schools.
Hill’s Ridgway team took the state title in 1982, when Tracy was a junior. She went on to play at three colleges, the University of Missouri, Central Wyoming State and Montana State, before playing professionally in Australia. In 1998 she returned home to coached the Nucla Lady Mustangs to the state 1A championship.
Now 47, Hill lives in Nucla with her husband, Kelly Arnold, who is the athletic director for Nucla High School and also coaches football, girls basketball and baseball. She has a 7-year-old son, Steele, and is working on her PhD in education.
The NHSHF is inducting 12 high school athletes, coaches and administrators at a ceremony July 11 in Nashville, Tenn. This year’s honorees include Kevin Johnson, who played for 13 years in the NBA and is now mayor of his hometown of Sacramento, Calif., and Pat Sullivan, who played his high school football in Alabama before winning the Heisman Trophy at Auburn and going on to a successful NFL career, as a player and a coach.
“I feel very honored to be nominated,” Hill told The Watch. Also “very humbled when associating myself with those who are in the Hall of Fame and those being inducted.”
Among the Colorado records Hill still holds: career scoring total: 2,934 points; season scoring total: 928 points; career scoring average: 32.2 points per game; most free throw attempts and most free throws made in a career; most points scored (43) in a state tournament game. All this before the three-point shot was invented.
She has the first, second, and third highest per-game scoring averages in Colorado history: 44.2 ppg as a senior; 38.7 ppg as a junior; and 33.4 ppg as a sophomore. (As a freshman she scored only 15.4 ppg.)
She could do it all, as the Rocky Mountain News reported in 2007. “A shooter with rare range and touch,” she scored the final basket in her record 43-point state tournament game after her glasses had been knocked off and skittered to the sideline. “You’re OK,” Steve Hill yelled. “Keep going.” She did, even though the backboard was a blur, elevating for one of her feathery jump shots. Swish – nothing but net.
Not long after I moved to Ridgway, I attended a 1982 game at home against the rival Ouray Trojans. Hill barely played in the second half, yet the game ended with the second largest point differential in Colorado basketball history: 102 points separated the two teams. Hill was a woman, a tall, supremely skilled woman, among girls.
Later that season she would pour in 59 points in a game against the Telluride Miners. Her 48 points in the first half of that tilt is another record.
Tracy’s dad, Steve Hill, is himself a legend in Colorado high school athletics. He holds the record for the most basketball teams taken to the state tournament: 13. He won two state titles with his Ridgway boys’ teams, and one with the girls, Tracy’s 1982 juggernaut.
They have a special bond forged in the game of hoops. (Tracy’s older sister Jana and brother Scott also played for their father.) Their coaching styles are similar, based on an intense commitment to their players and an equally intense loyalty demanded in return. Father and daughter, both of who are in the Colorado High School Activities Association Hall of Fame, coached together on the same sideline at the 1996 and 1998 All-State games.
Proud dad Steve commented, “I had the good fortune to coach Tracy. I have never coached a harder working player, and with her exceptional abilities and perfectionist personality, she was motivated to excel…Tracy's talent was a special bonus and made my coaching job easier. As her coach and parent, too, of course I am very pleased and proud of Tracy's accomplishment.”
Tracy didn’t want to do an interview before the Hall of Fame induction. “I’m full of emotion,” she said. “I will start talking basketball and not stop…I’m hoping when I live this experience in July, I can come back and share with this community my gratitude.”