One Perspective: A D-League Coach’s Wife Part III

Updated: January 18, 2017

This is part three of a four-part series (click here for parts one and two) from Lizz Aubrey Hill, wife of Santa Cruz Warriors head coach Casey Hill, and what it’s like to be the wife of a D-League head coach. This is her story, in her words.

In just under 90 days, the Kaiser Permanente Arena was erected in downtown Santa Cruz. That would be our team’s home and ideally serve as a meeting place and venue for other events in town. The 2012-13 season had started, and while a handful of players from the previous season carried over, the Santa Cruz Warriors office staff was completely new. They were a small, yet mighty, office team, but any additional help was appreciated. So I began working part-time at Santa Cruz Warriors’ headquarters with season ticket holders and various operational duties. I also took a marketing internship position with the local art museum (my heart has always been with the Arts). I am proud to be even a small part of that flagship office staff. It helped me get to know a great many faces about town, and I had a vested interest in the success of this new D-League organization, as a whole.

Photo contributed by Lizz Hill

Photo contributed by Lizz Hill

Additionally, holding these job positions gave me a purpose beyond simply being “Assistant Coach Casey Hill’s wife.” Not that I didn’t love that label; I’d prefer that to any other! But Casey and I don’t have children, and having a job and making my own friends outside of the team really rounded out my Santa Cruz experience. My advice to any coach’s wife who’s asking: if you step outside your comfort zone and find something that’s your own, it will make your season so much more fulfilling. I didn’t do that in Bismarck; I was timid and relied too much on Casey for my day-to-day happiness. I don’t know why – maybe I was too cold! Maybe I got caught up in missing Texas. But I wasn’t going to take our time in Santa Cruz for granted.

After the inaugural Santa Cruz season, the head coach at the time left for a new opportunity. That meant Casey could be promoted. I remember that phone call from him: “Babe, they’re making me the new head coach… I’m the new Head Coach!” I thought he was joking at first but once I realized he was serious, my heart almost burst with excitement. This was a dream come true for my husband; his goal was to one day be the head coach of a professional basketball team, and now he had achieved that in just two years. Two seasons prior we were living paycheck to paycheck and Casey was essentially an intern. Now, he would run the squad his own way. What a blessing for us – what an amazing opportunity for him!

While the promotion was a prayer answered early, we knew that the new title would come with its own pressures and

Photo contributed by Lizz Hill

Photo contributed by Lizz Hill

mountains to climb. I left the Warriors office job to pursue other passions, while Casey was busier than ever before. I started to see his name and face in local news articles and on TV; I still have a folder of newspaper clippings with his interviews from that first season.

It is now January of 2017, and Casey has been the head coach of the Santa Cruz Warriors for four seasons. Each season has had its own personality, its own stresses, and its own cast of characters. One of the most memorable with Casey at the helm was the 2014-15 season when he and his team won the NBA Development League Championship. To compound the celebration, it was the same year the Golden State Warriors won their NBA Championship. The organization was on cloud nine. I remember that final winning game of ours, crying tears of joy looking down at my husband on the court. He met my eyes, put his hands on his head as if in disbelief, and mouthed, “We did it.” I still get choked up thinking about that moment, and I don’t think I’ve ever been more proud.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *