As the 2021 football season kicks off, VYPE Three Rivers editor Bill Huddleston caught up with Muskogee head football Travis Hill discussing the game plan for this high energy coach of the Roughers.
VYPE: This is your 36th season coaching football. Flashback and tell me about your trail of success from high school, college and on the high school sidelines.
HILL: I graduated from Tulsa East Central High School and played college football at Northeastern State University. My coaching career began at Northeastern A&M when the Golden Norse won the NJCAA National Championships in 1991. My first coaching job in high school was at Stillwater in 1985. I was fortunate to coach 14 years at my alma Mater (1998-2011) where the Cardinals won the 2005 state championship and runner-up honors in 2010. I was defensive coordinator at Broken Arrow three years (2017-2019) when the Tigers won a state title in 2018. I’m glad to be back in Muskogee and to be the head coach of the Roughers.
VYPE: Coaches always say it’s more than just wins and losses – what are a couple of the highlights of your career?
HILL: The championship years at East Central and B-A were obviously big moments plus my players that have gone on to play professionally but honestly the special moments that rank high on coach Hill’s list are when former players communicate with you letting you know they appreciated the time we spent working together. It tugs at my emotions when I see my guys be successful professionally in their careers as well as parents and spouses.
VYPE: Do you have a coaching mentor – someone you look up to or have called for advice?
HILL: Definitely, I’d say Dr. Bill Defee who was head coach at Stillwater and gave me my first job and then Tom Eckert, my coach at N-S-U who drilled into me to be yourself, be consistent, coach with lots of energy and never waste a moment.
VYPE: What three words define Travis Hill? Which of these is most important and why?
HILL: Loyal, Caring and Tough. Most important is tough, both mentally and physically. You have to have it to make all the other characteristics work.
VYPE: This is your second chapter with Muskogee football but now you’re the man in charge. What’s been your biggest challenge so far? Biggest surprise?
HILL: Commitment to the program was what had to come first but that said the best surprise is that our kids are progressing and trusting the process sooner that we expected. The community support proves that Muskogee wants a winning football program.
VYPE: Let’s have a little fun…other than the Roughers, what’s your favorite sports team, college or pro? Why?
HILL: I’ve always been a fan of the Minnesota Vikings. When I was growing up, they practiced in Tulsa once before they were going to play the Dallas Cowboys. I’ve been a faithful Vikings fan ever since.
VYPE: Other than game film, what’s your all-time favorite movie?
HILL: It’s got to be 300…I love the underdog and I love the idea that a group of people can come together and accomplish anything. Love history.
VYPE: What tops the charts on your music playlist? What was the first concert you attended?
HILL: Led Zepplin any time, all day…you can’t beat Stairway to Heaven, Whole Lotta Love. My first concert I went to featured the group called Heart…Crazy On You and Barracuda…pretty good stuff.
VYPE: When you’re not coaching football, what are your hobbies?
HILL: Nothing better than being out on a boat going fishing…even if the fish aren’t biting. Coach Hill also enjoys biking…bet you didn’t know that.
VYPE: Finally, what’s your favorite place to eat? What’s on the menu for coach Hill’s “Champions Dinner”?
HILL: I like eating out at any great steak house but the food that comes off the “T-Hill Grill” is hard to beat. As far as the Champions Dinner, the order will be a 14-oz ribeye, baked potato with all the butter and bacon bits, a big house salad, soft rolls with honey and a huge glass of sweet tea. Let’s plan to eat that champions dinner real soon!
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