By Gio Gennero | Sports Writer
“I knew in junior high that I was going to be a sports writer,” Baylor Bear Insider Jerry Hill said. “So that passion has been there a long time.”
Jerry “The Thrill” Hill has been the Baylor Bear Insider since 2008, and he covers all 19 sport programs that the university has to offer. However, this started way before he took the position. Hill’s coverage spans back to 1987, and he has missed only one football game since. His current streak is 404 consecutive games.
At a young age, Hill became infatuated with sports, and he said writing always came naturally to him. He said he would do research on players and compile information on them simply for his own entertainment.
“When I was a kid, I would actually write short bios on pro athletes,” Hill said. “Where I’d research, say Tony Dorsett or someone like that, and write a little bio, kind of a chapter on them.”
After graduating from the University of North Texas, Hill moved to Waco to start his new job at the Waco Tribune-Herald. Hill said he didn’t plan on being here long, because he wanted to move on to a bigger market. After getting a taste for it, Hill changed his mind.
“This is a special place,” Hill said. “I don’t think I would go anywhere else to do this job. When I came to the Trib in ’83, I said I would only be here for five years, because I’m going to be at a major market. This is my 40th year in Waco, so I think I like the place.”
Hill credits Dave Campbell as his mentor and someone who helped him a lot. Campbell was Hill’s boss at the Trib, and was the Baylor Bear Insider for 15 years before being succeeded by Hill. He said he used to try and emulate Campbell’s writing style before finding his own style.
“I used to say I would never want to follow a guy like Dave because he’s a legend, and then I followed him here,” Hill said. “That’s intimidating, but it was just such a great opportunity to be here and make my own path as well.”
Hill said he always has fun going to games, but his favorite aspect of his job is getting to tell other people’s stories. Especially when those people express their love for the stories, because it lets him know he told their stories the right way.
“That’s probably the most fulfilling thing, because I’m writing it for them,” Hill said. “I’m not writing it for me, I want to tell their story. That, to me, is the most fulfilling part.”
Over the years, Hill has garnered a tremendous amount of respect in the Baylor community, especially among the media members. However, Hill said he doesn’t see it that way. He said he is just a Baylor employee who likes writing, and he enjoys helping younger writers to grow.
“Because we’re always around students, we kind of see ourselves as teachers,” Hill said. “It’s part of our obligation to help younger writers and those coming up in the business. When you’ve been helped the way I’ve been, and you see others around you pour into you, you want to do the same thing.”