Oct. 26, 2013
University of Michigan director of athletics Dave Brandon will regularly offer his view on a variety of topics related to U-M and intercollegiate sports. All his posts, along with links to related content, will be available on his page, mgoblue.com/brandon, and he is also on Twitter at @DaveBrandonAD.
There are sports figures we refer to as heroes. Even though many of them don't earn that moniker on the field, sports can teach many life lessons, and the kind of courage and discipline needed to leave the world of athletics and go beyond the norm to make this world a better place. Some literally lay their life on the line to create safer communities for us all.
The University of Michigan and our athletic program are proud to claim one of those special individuals. His name is Patrick Hill, a walk-on wide receiver who played football for the Wolverines in 1995. He never played in a game or received a letter, but he was an important member of the scout team, as he prepared the first and second team players for their upcoming contests.
The 12-year veteran of the Detroit Police Department died on Saturday, Oct. 19, from a gunshot wound he sustained during the capture of a murder suspect in early April. His funeral service will begin at 10 a.m. Monday, Oct. 28, at Greater Grace Temple at W. Seven Mile and Telegraph in Detroit.
Hill and his partner, Jeffrey Pacholski, were working as members of the Comprehensive Violence Reduction Partnership (CVRP), a multi-agency task force that includes personnel from the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Michigan State Police, Detroit Police and the State Department of Corrections. They were attempting to arrest a suspect who was wanted for the March 28 murder of a drug dealer. A car chase ensued.
The vehicle they were pursuing was boxed into another police car at the intersection of Linwood and Hooker Street. The murder suspect immediately opened fire on officers from inside his vehicle wounding Pacholski. Officers on the scene returned fire, killing the subject, but shrapnel from friendly fire deflected off another vehicle and hit Hill.
Hill was rushed to Henry Ford Hospital and placed on life support. Last week, his family made the difficult decision to take their loved one off life support. He leaves behind his wife and four children.
Before coming to the University of Michigan, he was a four-year honor roll student at Cass Tech High School. He earned five varsity letters -- three in baseball and two in football. And he was a leader. He was the captain of the baseball team during his senior season, the same year his school was runner-up in the city championship.
Hill loved his family, loved sports and loved the Detroit community. He put his life on the line to make our world a better place.
When the U-M football team returns to the field next Saturday against Michigan State, we will be cheering on the Maize and Blue. There are great players on Team 134, and there have been great players throughout our history. Even though we have never had an All-American football player wear the No. 34, we need to remember we have one No. 34 who is a real hero: Patrick Hill.
Please say a prayer for this fallen Detroit police officer, his family, friends and all the brave men and women who serve in harm's way every day to help keep our communities safe.
Here's to you Patrick Hill -- Go Blue ... and may you rest in peace.
Dave Brandon Home Page