Norma Hill, who was part of the original faculty and staff when Vintage High School opened in 1972, will be inducted into the Crushers’ Athletic Hall of Fame during a dinner and ceremony honoring the newest class on Sept. 9 at the Elks Lodge of Napa.
Hill, a longtime Vintage volleyball and softball coach who passed away on Sept. 5, 2012, was elected by a selection committee. The Hall of Fame’s board of directors approved the class.
The 10-member class also includes:
* Frank Silva, a former principal and former director of secondary education for the Napa Valley Unified School District.
* Jim Lanterman, coach.
* Conrad Alvarez, Mike Hunter, Lori Stultz Gentry and Mark Nicol, athletes.
* J.C. Pickett, orthopaedic surgeon.
* Bruce McCall and Glenn Hughes, physical therapists-athletic trainers.
The newest members will be introduced at Vintage’s Hall of Fame game against Davis on Sept. 8 at Napa Memorial Stadium. This is the fifth year of the Hall of Fame.
Hill taught P.E. and coached at Vintage until her retirement in 1993. Before going to Vintage, she worked at Napa High.
Hill died following a brief illness. She was 77.
Her players addressed her as Ms. Hill, a strong supporter of girls athletics. She was successful as a coach, leading her teams to the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs.
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A graduate of San Francisco State, she began her teaching career at Carlmont High-Belmont before moving to Napa. She also coached gymnastics.
“I know that among Ms. Hill’s proudest accomplishments, was leading our Crushers softball team to consecutive Monticello Empire League championships in 1990 and 1991,” said Saanen Kerson, Vintage’s softball coach, who is in the Hall of Fame. “It was the first time I saw her with a tear in her eye as she explained what a momentous occasion it was for us, for our school, and for her.”
Hill set high standards for her players and wasn’t afraid to tell you if you let her down, said Kelly Porter, who played three years of volleyball and softball for Hill.
Hill was remembered by former athletes for her passionate approach to athletics and the overall care she provided for her teams for years.
“She was definitely passionate,” said Porter, a 1988 VHS graduate, who is Vintage’s head volleyball coach and a Hall of Fame member. “She wanted us to be successful. She was very passionate about winning — loved to win. She fought for us. She would definitely go to bat for her team.”
“She was one of the best coaches I ever had,” said Heidi Ringsmith, a 1982 Vintage graduate, who played three years of softball for the Crushers and is a P.E. teacher at Vintage. “She was serious, but yet she was caring and had a great smile. She wanted to win and she was very competitive.”
Hill joins several other coaches in the Hall of Fame – Burl Autry (football), Clarence Tye (baseball), Bill Williams (cross country, track and field), Jerry Nelson (tennis), Bill Nunes (football) and now Lanterman (wrestling).
Anette Madsen Yazidi, a 1981 VHS graduate, said she has many fond memories of her years in volleyball under the coaching of Hill.
“Her lively personality, great big smile, no-slacking coaching style was instrumental in her ability to get the most out of her athletes,” said Yazidi.
Born in Fairfield, Illinois, Hill was an avid golfer. She was a member of Silverado Resort and Spa and played in the 1969 (Plano, Texas) and 1970 (Washington, D.C.) Women’s Trans National Golf Championship.
She moved to Sun City West, Arizona, in 1996 and was a three-time champion of the Arizona Women’s Golf Association Legends Trophy. She was a three-time club champion of The 500 Club and a four-time club champion at Grandview Golf Club.
Following high school, she spent three years in the U.S. Air Force.