Staff Photo: Will Hammock North Gwinnett grad Megan Hill, who coached previously at Shiloh, is the new head girls soccer coach at Peachtree Ridge.
Megan Hill, a 2004 North Gwinnett grad whose maiden name is Kolts, is in her first season as the head girls soccer coach at Peachtree Ridge.
Hill still teaches at Shiloh, where she was the head girls soccer coach last season. She coached previously at the college level at Columbus State and also played four seasons of soccer at Southern Miss, where she played in 68 games, the second-most in school history. She is married to fellow North grad Ryan Hill, a softball and baseball coach at Apalachee.
In this installment of "Getting to Know ... ", Hill talks with sports editor Will Hammock about her new job, her high school sweetheart and Carrie Underwood.
WH: Before you took this job at Peachtree Ridge, was Shiloh your first coaching job?
MH: I was actually in the college world for a little bit. When I was in my senior year at Southern Miss, I knew I wanted to teach, but I didn't want to leave soccer. I didn't know what route I wanted to take just yet. So I wanted to be a graduate assistant, luckily I got a GA position at Columbus State and got my master's in education. I really decided that I wanted to stick with coaching. After my GA time was up, I got offered the assistant coaching job and I took it, so I was essentially an assistant coach there for about two years. My husband now, who was my boyfriend since I was a freshman in high school, asked me to marry him. Finally (laughs). So I moved up here and it was kind of who was going to find a job first. We made the agreement that he would apply in the Columbus State area and I would apply up here because he's a teacher as well. And whoever got the call first wins, so that was me luckily. I moved up here and got the job at Shiloh. I strictly teach health, not PE classes. So I was a health teacher at Shiloh and I got really interested in the coaching position here at Peachtree Ridge because it's five minutes from where we live instead of 50 minutes.
WH: Did you enjoy the college coaching?
MH: I loved college coaching. It's a different level. Sometimes in high school they're trying to figure out whether they want to continue to the next level. In college, they're there and they're ready to work. That's their life. That's what they're getting paid to do along with getting an education. So the dedication is a little bit different for some players. College was very time-consuming with recruiting. If there was a tournament, you were there. But now that I coach two club teams at GSA, it's really not that different because I'm still at every tournament the college coaches would be at. I guess it's the same time difference. It's just a little more stressful in the college world because you're trying to get kids to come to your school.
WH: Is Gwinnett County soccer different now from when you played?
MH: I think it is. Absolutely. The regions are different. We were in a region with Brookwood and Parkview when I played at North.
WH: Is the quality of play better?
MH: I think it's much better. Even the club world, there's ECNL, there's R3PL. When I was growing up, there was just Athena A and ODP. That was the levels. Now there are all of these sub-levels. You go up to North Carolina for a game and drive back the same day. There's a different commitment level. I think the club world has changed the high school world.
WH: You dated your current husband since your freshman year in high school?
MH: I was a freshman and he was a junior. He played baseball. I played soccer. I don't even know how it began. His sister says that he picked me out of a yearbook. So we'll go with that. The rest is history.
WH: So you dated non-stop, all through high school and college?
MH: Yeah, we dated non-stop. When he graduated he went to Truett-McConnell to play baseball and then went to Florida at Gulf Coast Community College for a semester there. His brother also worked at Southern Miss, so when I graduated he came up to Southern Miss while I was at Southern Miss playing soccer. So we just continued from there.
WH: So how long have you two been together?
MH: Feb. 7 will be 12 years.
WH: How old were you when you got married?
MH: Let's see, I got married in 2011, I'm 27 now, so 26.
WH: So people were like, "It's about time they got married."
MH: Yeah pretty much. But we wanted to make sure he had a job, I had a job and we were supporting each other first. We never lived together, so then we were able to come together in one small, one-bedroom apartment.
WH: Your husband coaches at Apalachee?
MH: He's actually helping his old high school coach, Mike Cavey, with baseball and softball.
WH: What was his proposal like? Was there a lot of pressure after all those years?
MH: We were at the Panama City Beach for the Fourth of July. It was weird because he never wants to walk on the beach or be romantic. This one morning, we were all waking up. It was me and his sister in one room and I heard all this commotion at 6 in the morning. I didn't want to wake up. Usually we wake up and go to this doughnut house, so I just decided to go ahead and get up. He was downstairs and his mom was downstairs. We were all waking up. So he asked, "Do you want to go for a walk?" And I'm like, "Sure, whatever." I'm hungry. I wanted to eat first and go for a walk afterward. So we're walking and there's this old rickety pier that we always walk to, it's always a walking point. We walk there and back. It's this little park. We walked down there and halfway down, I'm like, "I'll race you to the pier so we can get back and go eat. I'm hungry." He's like, "No, let's just walk it." He was kind of acting weird now that I look back on it. Finally we got the pier and he got down on one knee and asked, "Will you marry me?" The first thing I said, "Is this for real? Is this finally happening? Is this for real? Is this really real? Is this real life?" That's all I kept saying. We were really excited about it. His parents knew about it. My mom knew. My parents were coming down for the Fourth of July as well, but he couldn't wait. He was supposed to wait for my family to come down as well, but he couldn't wait.WH: Do you go to Panama City a lot?
MH: We go down there every Fourth of July. It's also where I got married. When people hear Panama City, they think ugh. But where we stay is the Carillon Beach area, it's kind of away from the craziness. It's closer to Rosemary (Beach), so it's more family-oriented. That's where he proposed and I got married at Marriott Bay Point (Resort).
WH: So your reception was at Club La Vela, right?
MH: Yeah, right. Oh my gosh, no. I think I've been to Club La Vela one time and that was a nightmare.
WH: With you and your husband coaching and teaching, it must give you a lot of the same things in common to talk about?
MH: He's at baseball. I'm at soccer. It's always about what time you're getting home. It's always a fight on who's going to cook dinner. It's funny. You're cooking dinner because I have this today. No, you're cooking dinner because I have practice. We do come home and talk about what we did at practice and if it worked. Our sports don't have anything in common, but building relationships with players is mostly what we talk about.
WH: You must not see each other a lot in the spring.
MH: Oh no. In the fall I don't see him a lot either because football starts up and he's a huge Falcons fan. Sundays are blocked off. You can't do anything Sundays from 1-4. I'm usually with my club team, so it worked out very well. We just never see each other (laughs).
WH: What are your hobbies?
MH: I work out. I have a gym membership. If I have free time, I'm at the gym. My life is soccer and soccer.
WH: What kind of music are you into?
MH: I listen to a little bit of everything. I have Sirius XM in my car. I listen to a little Alt Nation. I'll dabble in some country music. Pop just rewinds itself after a little while, so I get a little tired of it. But I listen to a little bit of everything.
WH: What's the best concert you've been to?
MH: Carrie Underwood. We just went recently (at the Arena at Gwinnett Center). It was awesome. She's cool.
WH: What are you expecting with the Peachtree Ridge girls team? You're inheriting a team that was pretty good.
MH: We lost a couple of players, but I'm excited because I know some of the girls from playing against them in club. I've seen them playing for AFU when I'm coaching at GSA. We've got some good talent. We've got some spots to fill, but hopefully with the freshmen that are coming in, hopefully they'll work and we can do some good things.
WH: It's not an easy region.
MH: It's not an easy region and I've heard a lot of talk about how good(legendary coach) Bill Holleman was, too. So I've got big shoes to fill.
WH: Did you know Bill before you got the job?
MH: I didn't. When I first got the job, I called him up just to get a feel for the water and how things were, how he dealt with some things. I didn't know him before. I knew he was at Shiloh because when I got there, people would talk about him. When I got here, people talk about him. I'm like following this guy around. I can't get away from him (laughing). I've heard a lot of great things about him. I'm excited to follow in his footsteps and hopefully make new traditions. I've got some really creative, quirky things that will hopefully motivate the girls weekly. I'm excited to see how it works.
WH: How would you describe your coaching style?
MH: Obviously, I demand a lot out of them, but I also like to have fun. A lot of young coaches go with the command style, do what I say or sit the bench. With females especially, you have to build a relationship with them. You have to have them trust you first and know what you're talking about. If you don't know what you're talking about, the girls especially, will catch right on. They won't listen as well if you're not knowledgable.