Quentin Hillsman, winningest coach in SU women’s basketball history, makes sure to win in style

first_img Published on February 25, 2018 at 9:00 pm Contact Billy: [email protected] | @Wheyen3 About an hour before every Syracuse home game, head coach Quentin Hillsman emerges from the home team’s tunnel in the Carrier Dome to do a pregame interview with the game’s broadcast team.Often, he comes out wearing a jean jacket that features a lion patch on the front. Stylish, to be sure, but just a precursor to his in-game fashion sense.“He’s one of a kind,” SU freshman Amaya Finklea-Guity said.Quentin Hillsman, in his 12th season at Syracuse (22-7, 10-6 Atlantic Coast), is the winningest all-time coach in SU women’s basketball history at 263 wins and counting. He’s led a team with just one returning starter to multiple upsets of Top 25 teams and almost assuredly to another NCAA Tournament berth. And he’s done it all in style.Hillsman, who often wears a three-piece suit during games and almost always wears a shirt and tie, got his fashion sense from his father, he said. He called his father a “suit-and-tie guy.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“Three-piece suits are just old school, I’ll tell you,” Hillsman said. “That’s my dad, it’s all him.”When the Orange took on Colgate on Dec. 6, Hillsman went with a relatively simple look. He wore an all-black suit but spiced it up with a green shirt and green tie. Against Drexel three days later, Hillsman broke out the simple look again, even going with a black tie, but mixed it up with a striped dress shirt.For SU’s upset of then-No. 11 Florida State on Jan. 7, though, Hillsman went all out. His whole getup was dark blue: suit jacket, pants and even shoes. He wore a green dress shirt to contrast the blue. His outfit didn’t even need a tie that day.Hillsman coaches with an intensity that a suit jacket doesn’t allow. So, sometimes by the end of the first quarter, he’ll have taken the jacket off. If he’s wearing a vest, he’ll usually remain in the vest to coach for the remainder of the game. If there’s no vest, a quick shirt untucking usually follows the removal of the suit jacket.Mention of Hillsman’s style wouldn’t be complete without acknowledging his glasses. On the road at North Carolina last Thursday, Hillsman didn’t do anything wild with his outfit. His glasses, though, had a cheetah-like pattern, with a mixture of yellow and brown portions. It seems whenever his outfit is on the subdued side, he makes sure to bring out his most stylish glasses. He’s got “maybe” up to 18 pairs, he said.“What happens is once you realize you can’t see, you kind of go overboard,” Hillsman said. “Three years ago I found out I couldn’t see and I started buying glasses, and I’ve got to stop.”Codie Yan | Staff PhotographerMultiple Syracuse players brought up Hillsman’s cufflinks, which Finklea-Guity called “bedazzled,” as one of their favorite parts of his look. On the cuffs from which the links hang, Hillsman gets his name, first and last, monogrammed. And around his wrist he almost always wears a shiny, golden watch.The style doesn’t stop with his clothing. All of Hillsman’s luggage is Louis Vuitton, SU forward Miranda Drummond said.“He has great swag,” Drummond said.“I like that he has that swag to him,” Tiana Mangakahia said.“He’s always bringing it,” Finklea-Guity said.The “swag” doesn’t just exist on the sideline during Syracuse games. Isis Young is in her first year of play at Syracuse after transferring from Florida. While she was at a showcase before coming to SU, her father, Dennis, remembered Hillsman arriving to the showcase decked out with flashy glasses and carrying his Louis Vuitton bags.“Look at this cat,” Dennis remembered thinking. “He’s more concerned about what he’s wearing than this basketball game.”By now, Hillsman’s look has integrated itself into timeout entertainment at SU games. Once a game, the scoreboard will display the virtual game where three basketballs swirl around each other with an object under just one of them. Classically, fans at sporting events around the country are looking to identify which basketball an object is under. At Syracuse games, fans need to identify which basketball is hiding Hillsman’s glasses.When the Orange upset then-No. 17 Duke on Feb. 15, the third quarter ended on a Young buzzer-beating layup. Moments later, two young girls took to the floor. At SU men’s games, it would be the segment where the children put on well-oversized Syracuse basketball uniforms before running and trying to score a basket. At this particular Syracuse women’s game, the two girls dressed up in clothes to mimic Hillsman’s style.That day, Hillsman went with a classical black and white suit look, save for a tie featuring different shades of green. The girls, in the pseudo-Hillsman attire laid out for them, may have out-styled Hillsman himself.Codie Yan | Staff PhotographerThe dress-to-impress look Hillsman employs on the sideline during games doesn’t carry over fully to practices. In the Carmelo K. Anthony Center, there aren’t as many eyes on him. Drummond said that at practices, he’s more “laid-back, like the other coaches.” On the practice court, Hillsman isn’t concerned with people’s thoughts on his appearance. He just wants to make sure his basketball philosophies are implemented correctly.But when it comes to gameday, there really is no equal to Hillsman’s fashion sense.Vonn Read, SU’s associate head coach, is crucial to Syracuse’s game planning for individual opponents. But when asked about whether he felt like he needed to dress up to Hillsman’s level, he just laughed.“If I can be as sharp as he in the (game planning), then we’re gonna be okay,” Read said.Staff writer Nick Alvarez contributed in reporting to this story. 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