Meridian Star

Sports

September 28, 2013

East Mississippi honoring Hull

MERIDIAN —     The late West Lauderdale High School and East Mississippi Community College head basketball coach Steve Hull earned many titles during his lifetime.

    In 1998, he was named Mississippi Association of Coaches Coach of the Year while at EMCC. During his eight years at West Lauderdale High School, Hull was seen as a program savior as he led a previously unsuccessful Knights basketball program to back-to-back 4A state runner-up finishes in 1993-94. More importantly, Hull also held the position of caring dad and loving husband.

    Saturday, in front of a homecoming crowd at Sullivan-Windam Field, Hull's name will be recognized with a new title ? East Mississippi Community College Hall of Fame member.

    “It would have been something that he didn't expect,” said Lisa Cox, who will accept the induction on behalf of her husband. “He would have thought it was a great honor that the East Mississippi family felt he was deserving of that.”

    Hull tragically passed away on Oct. 11, 2001 at 39 years of age when he suffered a massive heart attack at the 18th hole of Dancing Rabbit Golf Club in Philadelphia while golfing with friends.

    To many, he will be remembered for his intense demeanor on the basketball court where he led the Knights to four straight 20-win seasons and EMCC to three NJCAA Region 23 Tournament appearances. But, those who knew him best, remember Hull as a fun-loving and loyal friend.

    “I've had hundreds and hundreds of relationships with coaches over my time in the business, but he's probably the one that stands out the most,” said WTOK sports anchor Lindsey Hall, a close friend of Hull. “We became close fishing buddies and golfing buddies. He was a great guy, and he just loved life.”

    Hall, who was golfing with Hull on the day he died, said one of his favorite memories with Hull happened earlier that day as the two exchanged their typical friendly banter on the course.

    “We came up to a long drive hole,” Hall said. “Steve was about my size, but he was a strong guy. He got up and hit a nice drive and turned around and said 'I really got that one Lash, I really got that one.' When we got out there, his ball was about forty yards past whoever had the longest drive. He's all bowed up, and he took the little marker and put his name on it. Afterwards we asked who hit the  longest drive before and he looks and says 'shoot it's some lady named Nancy.' It was the long hole for the women's drive and not the men's. We all had a good laugh.”

    Hull knew when to lighten the mood, but he also knew when to be serious. While he was at EMCC, Cox remembers a time where the team's manager, Randy, had accidentally brought the wrong uniforms. Some of the players got upset and began to get on the manager for the mistake. After Hull realized what was going on he immediately held a team meeting to address the problem.

    “The manager was upset and crying, and Steve walked in and got the players together,” she said. “He said 'Randy has made one mistake in his two years with the team, y'all make more than one mistake within the first five minutes of the ballgame. So, when you can live up to Randy's standard, we'll talk.'

    “It was important to him that everybody on his team knew they were a valuable part of that team. He would always work to make sure, no matter what someone's role was, that everyone was treated with respect.”

    Before his coaching days, Hull played baseball at Millsaps College where he earned two Most Valuable Player awards with the Majors. In 1983 he finished fifth in the NCAA Division II with a .510 batting average.

    In his honor, the Steve Hull Memorial Golf Classic was established in 2002 to help raise funds for the Hull children to achieve their educational goals. The tournament is still active today and works towards helping local area youth pursue a college education.

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