King Hill, the quarterback who was the first player taken in the 1958 NFL draft, has died at the age of 75, according to the Houston Chronicle.
After a stellar college career at Rice in which he had a phenomenal senior season as a quarterback, punter, kicker and safety in 1957, Hill was taken first overall by the Chicago Cardinals the following year. Despite the team’s high hopes for him, Hill never became a consistent starting quarterback, although he did play well enough to stick around in the NFL for 12 seasons with the Cardinals, Eagles and Vikings.
When his playing career ended, Hill had a successful career as an assistant coach for 17 seasons. He was the only offensive coordinator Bum Phillips ever had, first working for Phillips with the Houston Oilers and then working for him for the New Orleans Saints. Phillips remembered Hill as a fine player, a fine coach and a fine man.
“This is a really sad day,” Phillips said. “King was different from almost anybody I’ve ever worked with. He was the most polite, gentle man. And, [on the] football field, he was polite but direct. When he said something, he meant it. He was the ideal guy to have on your staff. [Coaching] wasn’t work to him. He really enjoyed it. He could communicate without all that hollering. You don’t need to raise your voice when you know what you’re talking about.”
As a player Hill was active in getting the NFL Players Association off the ground, and he became a scout for the Eagles after his coaching career ended. He spent most of his adult life in the NFL.