A campus visit to his future home in Ann Arbor was a welcomed diversion for Detroit Renaissance athlete Carson Butler. The 6-5 230-lb pass-catcher, who will play tight end at Michigan, lost his high school football suddenly early last week. William Hill died of a heart attack Monday, December 6th after traveling to Henry Ford hospital due to complaints of not feeling well. He was 52 years old.
The loss of one of the truly genuine guys in the prep football ranks was obviously
still weighing very heavy on Butler's heart, but he found the time to discuss
some of his happier moments in the past few days.
"My visit went real well," Carson said. "When I first got there on Friday I ate with Morgan Trent and Coach Campbell. Morgan was my host. After that we went back to the dorm and I hung out with him and Mike Hart. We just played video games and hung out a little more."
Another recruit was there as well. Brandon Harrison.
Harrison, who will announce his decision at a Tuesday press conference (where GBW will be in attendance), was probed by many of the players and recruits about what his choice would be. Despite their numerous attempts, Harrison left them all hanging. "He was saying that we had to wait until his press conference and stuff like that," Butler said. "I think he really liked Michigan, but he wasn't telling anyone what he was going to do. We all tried to get it out of him though."
As fun and distracting as the visit was for Butler, his thoughts (and our conversation) never ventured far from Coach Hill. Known as one of the nice guys in high school sports, Hill always was always one of our favorites at GBW. Whether it was setting aside a few hours of his days to welcome us over to talk about his players, conversing in the stands at one of the basketball games, or picking his brain over the phone about PSL football, Coach Hill was always accommodating.
When speaking with Coach Hill, if there was one thing that came across more vibrantly than anything else, it was how much he cared about his players. He was one of those coaches that concerned himself more with the overall development of young men, and less with what they could do for him on the football field. That was something that wasn't lost on Butler. "Coach Hill had a big impact on me," Carson said. "After sitting out from football my first year here, I came out this past summer to start playing. I wasn't doing so well, but he kept pushing me. He believed in me. I gained a lot of confidence from that and ended up having a really good season (29 catches, 695 yards, and 10 touchdowns). On the field, he always found ways to get be the ball…so that helped too. But outside of that, whenever I needed someone to talk to I was always able to call him. I thought that I was going to call him too much, but he was always there to let me know about colleges and to talk about what each of the schools had to offer. He was really happy that I got a scholarship to Michigan."
Hill led Renaissance to a PSL title this year and was named the Public School League Coach of the year by the Detroit News. While those were certainly lofty accomplishments, Coach Hill he would undoubtedly mention his proudest successes as the number of players he had with GPAs over 3.0 and the number of kids that he has sent to college. To a man, his players say that Coach Hill placed as much emphasis on what they did off the football field as what they did on it. "He really stressed being not only good football players, but being good people as well," Butler said. "That is because he was such a good person himself. I really found out what he was all about when he sat out five starters, including myself, for the first half of the Mumford game. We had gotten into a little trouble and he sat us because of it. He didn't care about a ball game as much as he cared about us. He was big on us doing well in school, going where we needed to go, and doing the things that we needed to do. Basically, he was just always there for me, and that was the case with all of the players.
William Hill will be missed.