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Hill leaves Springwood to join football staff at Valley

VALLEY — After Thursday’s workout with the Wildcats, Thomas Hill informed the team that after five seasons, he will no longer be the head coach of Springwood football.

“There weren’t a lot of dry eyes in there when I told them,” Hill said. “It was hard for everybody.”

Hill is moving to Valley High School, where he will become the head coach of the ninth grade football team. Rams head football coach Buster Daniel initially reached out to Hill this past Monday and his decision had to be made by Wednesday.

“For him to call me up and have that available for me, that was like one of those God things,” Hill said. “[He] just kind of directed me according to His will and His path, so that’s how I took it.”

The tough departure from Springwood continued with a conversation with the school’s headmaster Rick Johnson. Johnson said that he didn’t want to get in Hill’s way if he thought that accepting the job would help him advance in his career or if he believed that it was God’s path for him.

Before any official public postings of the position were made, five coaches emailed Johnson about the position already. With the season approximately two months away, Johnson said he understands the value of filling the position relatively soon.

Springwood head softball coach Galen Smith and Monta Booker are currently leading the team in offseason workouts.

This year on the field, the Springwood football program is moving down from Class AAA to Class AA while bringing back offensive linemen Chris Ramseur and Sam Leva, as well as running back O.J. Tolbert and quarterback Jordan Plank.

“I expect them to be a playoff team,” Hill said. “I don’t think we left the cupboard bare by any means. I think they’re going to be a competitive team and I expect them to be very, very good.”

The players at Springwood respected and appreciated Hill even after graduation.

“He was a great teacher and even greater person,” former Wildcat center and 2018 graduate Harrison Spivey said. “I enjoyed all of my high school years with him as head coach and I wish him the best at Valley. I know he’ll succeed.”

Hill still has to finish some paperwork before taking over his duties at Valley on July 9. In the classroom, Hill plans to be a history teacher at Valley. As the head coach for the freshmen football team, Hill will be responsible for approximately 44 players.

“I’m excited for a new opportunity to bring what I do over to Valley,” Hill said. “I’m really excited to work with these ninth graders. I hear a lot about them and I can’t wait to get to work.”