George Hill, former Ohio State defensive coordinator under Woody Hayes, dies at age 87

Rob Oller
Buckeye Xtra
Defensive coordinator George Hill was one of Woody Hayes' top lieutenants; in this 1977 photo he is seated next to Hayes on the Buckeyes' team plane for a game at Illinois.

George Hill, who coordinated the Ohio State defense under Woody Hayes in the 1970s and later coached 21 seasons in the NFL, died Tuesday in Florida, according to former Buckeyes linebacker Bob Brudzinski. Hill was 87.

Hill worked under Hayes from 1971 through 1978, coaching such All-Americans as Brudzinski and Randy Gradishar. The 1973 OSU defense is considered among the best in school history.

"He recruited me to go to Ohio State," Brudzinski said. "He was a great guy and a great coach and should have been head coach after coach Hayes." 

Hill left Ohio State when Hayes was fired after the 1978 season, beginning a long NFL tenure that included working as Don Shula’s defensive coordinator with the Miami Dolphins from 1996-99. He began his NFL career with the Philadelphia Eagles and also worked for the Indianapolis Colts before joining Shula in Miami.

Hill was a four-year letter winner at Denison, where he was inducted into the Varsity D Hall of Fame in 1977. Beginning in 1960 he served as defensive coordinator at his alma mater for five seasons, and also coached at Cornell and Duke before arriving at Ohio State.