Longtime ESPN El Paso and Local Sports Media Personality Steve Hill Passes Away at Age 62
I didn’t know Steve Hill for very long, but I will certainly never forget him. He was one of those unique individuals who was simple yet complex at the same time. He never married, and he never had children.
I first met Steve in the summer of 2008. I had just been hired by ESPN El Paso and was eager to start my first high school football season reporting for “Football Friday Nights.”
By 2008, Steve was already physically ailing from the diabetes that robbed him of his health. His mind, however, was still as sharp as a tack. His memory had to be photographic as he could recite details from games that happened 40 years ago as if they happened yesterday. In the so called ‘digital age’ he had little use for computers. All his notes were carefully and meticulously transcribed on loose leaf sheets of paper.
In the summer of 2009 I was given the opportunity to host “Football Friday Nights” with Steve Hill as my studio analyst. I was still very raw on air, but Steve was always a calming presence in the studio. His body hurt, but he still wanted to be a part of high school football in El Paso. It killed him that his diabetes kept him out of the stadiums, but he truly embraced his role as studio analyst.
He was much more of a conversationalist than a talking head. You could ask him about any subject under the sun and he would give an articulate, thoughtful answer. As I got to know his patterns and habits there were certain stories I could always get him to tell. He would always get a glow on his face when talking about the time Tony Grijalva and the Franklin Cougars upset the mighty Midland Lee Bulldogs in the state playoffs.
As his health faded further, he reluctantly came to terms with the fact that he longer possessed the strength or stamina to work on Friday nights. In typical Steve Hill fashion, there was no grand or ceremonial retirement. Rather, he faded off into the sunset.
He did his best to make it to all the UTEP football and basketball games that he could, but you couldn’t help notice the white elephant in the press box. He never used his health as an excuse, and kept precise statistics…..(with pencil and paper of course)
According to his brother Charles, Steve collapsed in his arms early Monday morning. He passed away at the age of 62 early Tuesday morning.
Steve will most closely be associated with high school football and UTEP athletics, but he was also a huge movie buff. He left his home town of El Paso for a brief stretch to be a producer for TSN, Canada’s ESPN. He once told me he had little use for the brutal Toronto winters. Steve wasn’t one for fabrication or embellishment.
He was never the warm and fuzzy type, but he was a very good and decent man who always shot from the hip. I will miss him dearly and know he will be listening intently to ESPN El Paso every Friday night in the fall.