Doing things “the Hill way” was a staple of Highland Springs football in the 1960s and early 70s.
It was an approach to the game and life synonymous with Springers head coach Lindbergh ‘Lindy’ Hill, an Army veteran and longtime local coach and administrator who also taught government before becoming an assistant principal at J.R. Tucker High.
“Lindy was quite a guy,” said Rudy Ward, who spent 42 years as a local teacher, coach and administrator, much of it as athletics director at Highland Springs.
Mr. Hill died Sunday. He was 94 years old.
Ward remembers Mr. Hill dating to Ward’s playing days at Douglas Freeman High when Mr. Hill was coaching the Springers.
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“He was a tough guy, a task master. Disciplined,” Ward said.
“Doing things the Hill way was really important to him. You did things the right way.”
When Ronald White became the first Black football player at Highland Springs High in 1966, he did so under Mr. Hill.
“He was a gentleman. Nice, soft-spoken, very respecting and respectful,” said Ron Axselle, a longtime local coach and member of the Touchdown Club of Richmond.
“I appreciated the kind of guy he was.”
Mr. Hill raised thousands of dollars for the Touchdown Club over the years, Ward said, selling countless ads and garnering ample donations. At 94 years old he was the oldest member of the TD Club, and one of its founding members dating to the 60s.
Mr. Hill ran the Sandston Pool for more than 50 years, and The Hill Building off Beulah Rd. is named after him. Friend, neighbor and former Varina High football coach Tommy Doub said the pool was a huge part of Mr. Hill’s life.
“After he retired he continued to run that for awhile, it almost became a joke, he couldn’t cut himself lose from the pool,” Doub said.
Doub used to work at the Sandston Pool, and met Mr. Hill there. The coaches’ relationship resulted in Highland Springs and Varina scrimmaging for a few years. Mr. Hill also coached junior varsity basketball.
Among Mr. Hill’s players at Highland Springs was Waddey Harvey, a defensive tackle who went on to star at Virginia Tech and play for the Buffalo Bills.
An unwavering discipline and commitment defined “the Hill way,” Ward said.
“You’d better not be late for practice, and you’d better not ever think about missing practice,” Ward reminisced.
“He worked hard at the game and was a good person. If you were a hard worker and you were on Lindy Hill’s team, he loved you.”
Mr. Hill served as president of the TD Club for one term, 1979-80. In 2008 he was honored alongside Doub with the Bunkie Trinite Achievement Award.
“Good man, a wonderful coach,” Doub said. “A good friend, he’ll be missed.”
Mr. Hill’s son, Barry Hill, who played football for his father at Highland Springs, predeceased him.