Coach Hill - 'One of my favorite people'

I found one of my favorite people in the world recently. He has a blog and a friend pointed it out to me. I've added it to my daily reading because Coach Hill is one of my favorite people.

Coach Hill is a lot of things. He's a social studies teacher; he's a ladies' basketball coach; he's a missionary to Honduran orphans; he's a philanthropist; he's the most eligible bachelor in the Houston area (of course, I'm a poor judge of that sort of thing).

Coach Hill was my junior high and high school history and economics teacher. He was hard! It was next to impossible to receive a perfect 100% in any of his classes-he demanded 100% perfect work on top of all the extra credit he offered. And he offered a lot of extra credit. Donate a bottle of correction fluid to his classroom: 5 points on the next quiz. Clean his chalkboard: 5 points on the next quiz. Clean the ladies' basketball locker rooms: 15 points on the next quiz. The list could grow pretty long here.

Coach Hill's classes were so tough because he demanded perfect work. All work must be done in pen, and all mistakes must be corrected with correction fluid. Misspellings are not acceptable. Every grading period your class notes must be turned in for grading-and just because he gave all his lectures without using a book or any notes, you better believe he will notice if you missed anything!

Coach Hill also had several memorable idiosyncrasies. Required to wear a tie in class, he never untied his ties but left several hanging, knotted, from a hook in his classroom. Each morning he'd slip one on and be ready for the day.

Coach Hill was greatly feared among the students because of the wooden paddle he kept in his room. He had a habit of carrying it about as he lectured, appearing to be practicing his forehand. In fact, the paddle (which was adorned with dozens of former students' signatures) had never been used to paddle a student-but as a bluff it served its purpose admirably well.

There are a lot of reasons I remember Coach Hill. He's a real character. But there is only one reason I can say he's one of my favorite people.

The reason is the hole in the sole of his left shoe. I can see it clearly, 15 years later. He had a hole in his shoe because the shoe was old (naturally). He hadn't replaced the shoe because he didn't have the cash, because he gave it away. Coach Hill wore holey shoes, and threadbare slacks, and castaway ties, and drove a car without a headliner, because he habitually gave so much of his money away.

He gave his money away to lots of places. Every school year in Coach Hill's class began with an empty jar at the front of the room. As the year went on the jar would fill with change, from Coach Hill's pockets and those of his students. The change went to buy Christmas presents for needy kids. Coach Hill helped to match the donations from students.

Every semester or so there would be an auction in Coach Hill's classroom. During the school year he and any of his students who volunteered (10 points on the next quiz) would write letters to pro and college sports teams asking for donated memorabilia. When enough swag was collected Coach Hill would auction off game balls, signed photos, t-shirts and jerseys, hockey sticks and helmets to the highest student bidder. All the money went to buy those Christmas presents.

Once I was out of high school I learned something about Coach Hill I hadn't known: all those years he had been part of the effort to build an orphanage near Tegucigalpa, Honduras. I can't guess how much of his own money went into the project. Part of Coach Hill's heart is at Jovenes en Camino.

As a basketball coach, Coach Hill is good at winning. But he's better at teaching-not basketball, but the character of Christ. The motto for the Lady Commanders was "Unselfish." After every time out, the ladies would put their hands in the middle of the huddle and the team captain would count "One, two three," and all the ladies would yell, "UNSELFISH!"

Coach Hill is one of my favorite people because he can teach a child how to win unselfishly. Those holey shoes are trophies, I believe. They are trophies of a victorious life-victory over selfishness.