JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - Coach Hill Denson has announced that 2019 will be his final season of coaching, following a Hall of Fame career. His retirement will cap a career that has spanned 33 years. Coach Denson is in his 19th year as Head Baseball Coach at Belhaven and has compiled a career record of 1,284-869-2, including a 1,058-774-2 collegiate coaching mark.
During Hill Denson’s tenure as the leader of the Belhaven program, the Blazers have won six conference championships, an NAIA Baseball National Championship Opening Round tournament, and also made the school’s first ever appearance in the NAIA World Series in 2010. In the past 18 seasons at Belhaven, Denson and the Blazers have accumulated a 602-415 record and he was named the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference (NAIA) Coach of the Year three times, picking up the award in 2006, 2007 and 2010.
According to Vice President and Director of Athletics, Scott Little, “Coach Denson is a pioneer and legendary figure in the sport of college baseball, and it has been our privilege to have him lead the Belhaven Baseball program for 19 years. Above all the Hall of Fame accolades and countless wins, his current and former players know he cared about them as people. That’s a great legacy.”
Coach Denson’s career also includes 14 seasons at the helm of the University of Southern Mississippi baseball program (1984-1997), where he helped establish USM as a nationally recognized baseball power. When Denson retired from Southern Miss after the 1997 season, he had compiled a record of 468-386-2 with the Eagles. While at USM, Coach Denson enjoyed many years of success including being named Metro Conference (now Conference USA) Coach of the Year in 1989 and 1990; having 12 consecutive winning seasons (1986-1997); a 42 win season in 1990 (school record); NCAA National Tournament bids in 1990 and 1991; Eight USM players were named NCAA All-Americans; and 35 USM players have signed professional baseball contracts. In 1999, Denson was recognized by the University of Southern Mississippi with the honor of having the USM baseball stadium changed to Hill Denson Field at Pete Taylor Park in 1999.
In 2008, Denson was inducted into the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and he has also been inducted into the Mississippi Semi-Pro Baseball Hall of Fame (1982), USM Athletic Hall of Fame (1990), Belhaven Athletics Hall of Fame (2010) and the Bobcat Sports Hall of Fame at Jones County Junior College (2012).Most recently, Coach Denson was inducted into the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) Hall of Fame in 2018.
Coach Denson stated, “I have thoroughly enjoyed my 19 years here at Belhaven. I would like to thank the administration here for putting me in charge of this program for so many years and I am grateful to all of the players who have given me the opportunity to be their coach. I’m stepping away from the game that has been a huge part of my life in order to slow down a little and spend more time with my wife, kids, and grandchildren.”