LOS ANGELES—Ernie Hix, known as “The Father of USC Men’s Volleyball” after building the program in its early years as head coach and guiding the Trojans to their first 2 NCAA championships, died of malignant melanoma on Saturday (June 4) in Alta Loma, Calif. He was 80.
During his 8-year (1974-81) tenure at USC, Hix not only won NCAA titles in 1977 and 1980 and finished as runner-up in 1979 and 1981, but he laid the foundation of the nascent Trojan program and fostered its development into a national power. He won 73.8% of his matches at USC, with an overall record of 138-49.
Among the All-American players he coached at USC were Tim Hovland, Dusty Dvorak, Steve Timmons, Celso Kalache, Bob Yoder, Pat Powers and Bill Stetson. Dvorak, Timmons, Kalache and Powers were Olympians.
A service for Hix will be held on Monday, June 13, at 11 a.m. at Murrieta United Methodist Church (24652 Adams Ave., Murrieta, Calif. 92562, 951-677-6174). A viewing will begin at 10:30 a.m. There will be a reception immediately following at Bear Creek Country Club (22640 Bear Creek Dr. North, Murrieta, Calif. 92562, 951-677-8621).
In lieu of flowers, the family has requested donations be made in Hix’s name to the USC Men’s Volleyball Alumni and Boosters Club, c/o USC Men’s Volleyball, Galen Center, 3400 So. Figueroa St., Los Angeles, Calif. 90089-2360.
“It was with great sadness that I learned of the passing of Coach Ernie Hix, a Trojan legend,” said current USC men’s volleyball head coach Jeff Nygaard. “He singlehandedly grew USC Men's Volleyball from its infancy into an NCAA championship-winning program, and along the way he had a deep impact on those who played for him. I have profound respect and admiration for the Father of USC Men's Volleyball, and I am in awe witnessing his continued impact through the outpouring of love from those who knew him best.”
“Ernie Hix created an incredible foundation for the USC Men’s Volleyball program, quickly establishing it as a collegiate power by winning a pair of NCAA championships,” said Bob Yoder, who was a member of Hix’s 1977 national titlist team and then succeeded Hix as USC’s head coach from 1982 to 1989. “He was respected and loved by his players, and we will miss him. He also ensured significant financial support for the program during and after his coaching tenure by developing and fostering the USC Men’s Volleyball Alumni and Boosters Club.”
In 1977, midway through Hix’s head coaching tenure at USC, the university started awarding athletic scholarships in men’s volleyball.
From 1971 to 1973, Hix served as USC’s assistant coach.
A 1958 graduate of USC who played on the 1955 Trojan freshman basketball team and on the varsity in 1956, Hix was a member of a pair of Hollywood (Calif.) High’s Los Angeles City finalist basketball squads.
He was founder and president of Hix Homes and Hix Development Corp., a residential homebuilder and land developer in Southern California, from 1963 to 2009. He served in leadership roles in the residential construction industry, including as president of the Building Industry Association Baldy View Chapter in 1992 and then president of the Building Industry Association of Southern California in 1997.
He also owned and operated assisted living facilities in Southern California since 2002. In fact, Hix passed away at Sunlit Gardens in Alta Loma, an assisted living facility that he developed.
Hix is survived by his wife Sharon, son Jeff, stepdaughter DeAnne Corcoran (Robert), stepson Michael Smith, daughter-in-law Susan Smith, 7 grandchildren (Ella Hix, David Hix, Tara Kelch (Mark), Caitlin Mac Cleverty, Brendan Mac Cleverty, Cole Churchill, Melissa Smith), 5 great grandchildren (Mason, Emma, Mark Jr., Skye, Serenity), sister Dixie Fraley, stepbrother Ashby Chamberlin (Kathryn) and nephews Steven Fraley (Penny), Kirk Fraley (Lynell), Shawn Fraley (Lani) and Tim Fraley (Jessica), as well as his faithful chocolate Labrador, Jackie.
To read the full article on Mr. Hix in its entirety, click here.
Services to be held on Monday, June 13th at:
Murrieta United Methodist Church
24652 Adams Avenue
Murrieta, CA 92562
Services begin at 11AM.
Viewing 30 minutes prior to services for those interested.
Reception immediately following at:
Bear Creek Country Club
22640 Bear Creek Drive North
Murrieta, CA 92562
The family has requested donations in lieu of flowers to:
USC Men's Volleyball
Attn: USC Men's Volleyball Alumni and Boosters Club
3400 So. Figueroa St.
Los Angeles, CA 90089-2360