Inspiring Coaches Finalist Erica Hill

Mercer Island High School - Mercer Island, WA

Number of years coaching: 17 years coaching track and cross country.

At a glance: Coach Erica Hill constantly has a smile on her face, remains upbeat and can turn a defeat into a positive experience every single time. She is always there for her students outside of practice, allowing them to talk about problems they are having, helping them find a solution or just listening. Each year at the end of season banquet, Coach Hill brings all 120 kids on the team up in front of the room and says a few positive, encouraging words about their performance for the year. These special words make each runner feel like an important part of the team.


Who inspired Coach Hill while she was in high school?
Mike McCloskey was my inspirational coach in HS. I really struggled in HS-with an eating disorder/depression that was the result of a traumatic event that happened when I was 12. McCloskey was a steady, supportive presence for me through this tough time in my life. He ran at Seattle Prep and at OSU and was tough as nails as an athlete and as a coach. He made me realize that I could do more athletically than I had ever imagined. He also unconditionally supported me through the good races and the tough races.

What makes Coach Hill Run Happy?
Running makes me feel free…it is my time to think, feel powerful and feel centered. My husband, the Bellevue High School Coach John Hill, and our two daughters –Zia and Kalea, are my inspiration and make me run happy. The strength and power of my Grandma Helen., my amazingly supportive Father and Mother, also allow me to run happy. My best friends that log miles with me as we solve the world’s problems make me run happy. The student athletes and their families that have become my family over the years make me run happy. Chasing a goal/dream makes me run happy. Knowing that running will always be there makes me run happy.

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