Debbie Shipley Hill is the Title IX Trailblazer for the week of April 19, 2022.
Debbie Shipley Hill entered high school at Sale Creek School in the fall of 1972, immediately following the passage of Title IX, and competed on the volleyball, basketball, and tennis teams. During her high school career, she earned MVP honors at the district and region level for volleyball and was named all-state in basketball. Upon graduation in 1976, she was the first female athlete from Sale Creek School to earn a college athletic scholarship, playing basketball at Cleveland State Community College for two years and then moving on to the Middle Tennessee State University team.
After earning her degree, Hill returned to Sale Creek School for the first of three stints at her alma mater, initially serving as the head coach for volleyball and an assistant coach in girls’ basketball and softball. In the fall of 1985, Hill transferred to Soddy Daisy High School to serve as the volleyball head coach and girls’ basketball assistant coach, where she would remain through the 1988-89 school year. In 1989, Hill began her second term at Sale Creek School, once again serving as the high school girls’ basketball assistant coach and the volleyball head coach, while simultaneously working with the middle school programs. When Sale Creek Middle School closed in 1995, Hill transferred to Loftis Middle School, where she was the head coach for the girls’ basketball team and the assistant coach for the volleyball team. Sale Creek reopened its middle school in the fall of 1998 and Hill returned home for a third time, filling the head coaching roles for both girls’ basketball and volleyball. Though Hill stepped away from her role as the girls’ basketball head coach in 2015 to be able to follow her daughter's college volleyball career, she continued to coach both the middle and high school volleyball teams at Sale Creek. In 2018, Hill retired from teaching but continued her role as the volleyball coach for both the middle and high school teams, this time with her two daughters, Erin and Shelby, serving as her assistant coaches. In 2020, Hill stepped down as the high school volleyball head coach to turn the team over to her daughter, Erin Briner, but remained as an assistant coach. Hill continues to serve as the head coach for the middle school volleyball team with her daughters as assistants.
For her athletic and coaching accomplishments, Hill has been inducted into the Cleveland State Community College Athletic Hall of Fame in 2016 and the Greater Chattanooga Sports Hall of Fame in 2017. Hill has won district, regional, and sectional titles at Sale Creek and her high school volleyball teams have reached the state tournament seven times. Hill’s coaching career spans 41 years, meaning she has coached and mentored thousands of young women in the Sale Creek, Soddy Daisy, and Hixson communities. Her legacy continues today and is further seen through the work of her daughters as coaches. For this reason, we salute Debbie Shipley Hill as this week’s TSSAA Title IX Trailblazer.