EDISON, N.J. (Jan. 30, 2011) – The New Jersey Sports Writers Association honored five Scarlet Knights at its 75th annual banquet Sunday at the Pines Manor in Edison, N.J. Veteran head baseball coach Fred Hill, former All-American football player Bill Austin, former women’s basketball standout and current assistant coach Tasha Pointer, former men’s basketball standout Geoff Billet, and men’s basketball Director of Player Development Eric Murdock were each inducted into the New Jersey Sports Writers Association Hall of Fame.
A baseball coaching icon in the region, Hill is entering his 28th year as head coach of the Rutgers baseball program and 35th season overall. After inheriting the program back in 1984, the baseball mentor has brought the Scarlet Knights to an elite status that includes 11 NCAA Tournament appearances, 12 regular season conference championships, eight conference tournament titles and has seen more than 60 of his players go on to play professional baseball. Last season, Hill became the 16th active Division I head baseball coach to earn 1,000 victories in his career. He enters 2011 with an overall record of 1,010-664-9 and a Rutgers mark of 862-573-7. One of the top 20 winningest active coaches in the nation, Hill is a three-time ABCA East Region Coach of the Year and four-time conference coach of the year between the BIG EAST and Atlantic 10. He came to Rutgers after seven successful years at the helm of the Montclair State baseball program, which he led to four NJCAC titles and three NCAA tournament bids, including the 1983 Division III College World Series. Hill was also an accomplished football coach at Montclair State and served as the baseball coach at his alma mater, Upsala, along with coaching stints at Clifford Scott High School and Pequannock High School.
Austin was a standout on the gridiron for Rutgers from 1956-58. He was honored as a first-team All-American in 1958. The 5-11, 170-pound Austin amassed 2,073 yards and scored 204 points as he led the Scarlet Knights in rushing for three years from his single-wing tailback spot. His 32 touchdowns ranked second among the all-time scorers and he had 13 interceptions. Austin was also a two-time honorable mention lacrosse All-American at Rutgers.
Pointer, who played for the Scarlet Knights from 1997-2001, led Rutgers its first-ever Final Four appearance as a junior captain in 2000. The Chicago native earned a number of accolades during her time at RU including being named the 1998 BIG EAST Rookie of the Year and garnering All-BIG EAST first team honors in 1999 and 2001. In 2001, Pointer was also tabbed an Associated Press All-America Honorable Mention. Pointer was named to two NCAA all-tournament teams, selected to the 1999 Midwest Region to the 2000 West Region squads. The point guard holds the Rutgers' all-time assists and steals records - men's and women's - with 839 assists and 292 steals, respectively. In addition, Pointer scored 1,456 points in her decorated career ranked ninth-best all-time. She recorded the first triple-double in Rutgers basketball history against Providence during her senior campaign. Pointer had four triple-doubles in her illustrious career, the most in BIG EAST history. In 2003, Pointer was named to the BIG EAST 25th Anniversary Hall of Fame Team. Pointer returned to Rutgers where she is in her fourth season as an assistant coach for the Scarlet Knights.
Billet, a guard, was a standout at Rutgers from 1995-99 where he scored 1,480 career points for the Scarlet Knights. He returned to Rutgers where he served as an assistant coach for the Scarlet Knights in 2000. A graduate of Christian Brothers Academy in Lincroft, N.J., Billet also served as an assistant coach at nearby Monmouth University and Seton Hall University. The Middletown, N.J. native was named the head coach at his alma mater, CBA in 2007 where he is presently in his fourth season at the helm of the basketball program.
Murdock, who joined the Rutgers men’s basketball staff as the Scarlet Knights’ Director of Player Development this season, was an All-American at Providence before moving on to a standout career in the National Basketball Association. Recognized as one of the most complete and versatile guards in the history of the BIG EAST Conference, Murdock set the NCAA career steals mark with 376 during his tenure at Providence College. The third all-time leading scorer at Providence with 2,021 points, Murdock is second among three-point shooters, third in free throws, sixth in assists, second in steals and 29th in rebounding in the school’s record books. Murdock, a First Team All-American, was drafted 21st overall by the NBA’s Utah Jazz in 1991 and competed nine seasons in the NBA and 11 seasons overall in professional basketball.
Rutgers Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Tim Pernetti and former Scarlet Knight football standout and current Tennessee Titans wide receiver Kenny Britt were honored at last year’s New Jersey Sports Writers Banquet.