UMBC names Hill as new Women’s Basketball Head Coach

UMBC has hired Candice Hill as the 11th head coach in the history of the Women’s Basketball program.

A Baltimore native, Hill returns home after spending the last three seasons as associate head coach and recruiting coordinator at perennial BIG EAST contender St. John’s.

“We are delighted to bring Candice to UMBC to lead our women’s basketball program,” said UMBC President Valerie Sheares Ashby. “Her approach to leadership, her coaching philosophy, and her values will help ensure the success of and support for our student-athletes, both on and off the court.”

“I want to thank President Sheares Ashby and the entire athletics administration for believing in me and granting me the opportunity to be the leader of the UMBC Women’s Basketball program,” said Hill. “As a Baltimore native, UMBC has been a part of my journey and has always held a special place in my heart. [My husband] Donn and I are so happy to be a part of the Retriever community. I knew this was where I needed and wanted to be when I stepped on campus. The America East conference is competitive with fearless leaders, and I am happy to be a part of it. I am thrilled and looking forward to building a winning program that the UMBC community, the city of Baltimore, and the state of Maryland can be proud of. It’s time to work!”

“Candice is a fantastic addition to the Retriever family,” said Senior Woman Administrator/Associate Athletics Director Whitney Ames. “Throughout the hiring process, Candice clearly communicated her passion for creating a student-athlete experience encompassing athletic and academic success at the highest level. We’re excited to welcome her to campus and participate in her continued development of our women’s basketball program.”

Hill joined St. John’s as assistant coach and recruiting coordinator in April 2021. She was elevated to associate head coach following the 2021-22 campaign and continued spearheading the Johnnies’ recruiting efforts. Hill continued to elevate the Red Storm program this past season, guiding the squad to its second-straight postseason and advancing to the WBIT Second Round. St. John’s tallied a third-place finish in the BIG EAST Conference with an 11-7 mark.

Hill primarily worked with the guards and played a pivotal role in developing Unique Drake. Drake increased her scoring average by nearly double-digits and was named a unanimous All-BIG EAST First Team selection. Drake ranked third in the conference, averaging 18.4 points per game, and made 79 3-pointers this season, the third-most in program history.

In April 2024, Hill participated in the Women’s Basketball Coaches’ Association Next Generation Institute at the Women’s Final Four in Cleveland. She was one of 32 assistant coaches across all three NCAA Divisions to participate in a high-level educational program geared toward the next generation of head coaches.

She played an integral role in returning the Red Storm to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2016 and compiling a 23-9 record. St. John’s defeated Purdue in the First Four before falling by just two (61-59) to No.6 North Carolina.

In 2022-23, Hill mentored a guard unit that featured three BIG EAST award winners and combined for 72.7 percent of the team’s scoring. Jayla Everett was a unanimous all-conference first-team selection, Unique Drake was named BIG EAST Sixth-Woman of the Year, and Kadaja Bailey was an all-league honorable mention.

As recruiting coordinator, Hill was pivotal in compiling the 2023-24 roster, which featured eight newcomers, including four transfers and four freshmen. The team finished third in a competitive BIG EAST and received a bid to the WBIT, where they won at Florida, 79-60, then dropped a 72-71 heartbreaker at Toledo in the second round.

Working primarily with the guards in 2021-22, Hill saw St. John’s Leilani Correa earn All-BIG East First Team honors. The Manchester, N.J., native was the first player to earn back-to-back first-team honors since Aliyyah Handford received the accolade from 2013-16. The Red Storm also saw Kadaja Bailey’s efforts rewarded by the Metropolitan Basketball Writers Association as she took home All-MET Third Team honors following her senior campaign.

Hill joined the Johnnies following a season as the assistant coach at her alma mater, Loyola Maryland.

Prior to her her time with the Greyhounds, Hill spent six seasons at the University of Massachusetts. Hill was hired by UMass before the start of the 2015-16 season as the director of operations. After one season as the team’s director of operations, Hill was promoted to assistant coach before the 2016-17 campaign started. During her four-year tenure as an assistant coach, Hill helped UMass improve from 9-21 in 2016-17 to a 20-win season (20-11) in 2019-20. This marked Massachusetts’ first 20-win season since 1995-96.

In 2019, Hill added recruiting coordinator duties to her resume, helping to assemble several nationally-ranked recruiting classes. In the following season, Hill helped the team lead the Atlantic 10 Conference and finish 36th in the NCAA in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.13:1) while closing out the season ranked second in the league in scoring offense (66.0 ppg).

Following the 2019-2020 campaign, Hill earned the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association’s prestigious Thirty Under 30 Award, an honor recognizing up-and-coming coaches at all levels of women’s basketball.
Before joining the staff in Amherst, Massachusetts, Hill began her collegiate coaching career at Wilmington (Del.) University from 2013-15.

In addition to her coaching ability, Hill was a standout on the court for the Greyhounds. She burst onto the scene as a freshman in 2007-08, becoming the first rookie to start at point guard for the Greyhounds since the 1991-92 season. After setting a freshman record for assists with 93, Hill earned Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference All-Rookie recognition. Over her collegiate career, she played in 117 games, a mark that still ranks 10th in school history, while making 59 starts.

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