Bill Hillgrove (born November 20, 1940) is an American sports journalist, radio personality, and sports broadcaster. He is currently the lead play-by-play broadcaster for the Pittsburgh Steelers football network (102.5 WDVE) and for the University of Pittsburgh sports network (93.7 The Fan). He calls Pitt football games with Bill Osborn, and Pitt basketball games with National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Famer Dick Groat and former Pitt guard Curtis Aiken.
Born William Thomas Hillgrove in Pittsburgh's Lawrenceville neighborhood, he grew up in nearby Garfield. He attended Central Catholic High School and Duquesne University. He worked as a student sports broadcaster for Duquesne basketball games while in college. Hillgrove graduated from Duquesne in 1962 with a degree in journalism.
Hillgrove's first job was as a disk jockey with WKJF (now KDKA-FM 93.7 The Fan), and in 1968, he joined WTAE-TV as the station's booth announcer. A year later, he swapped jobs with WTAE Radio announcer Del Taylor, wishing to get back into radio. In the mid-1960s, he served for a short period of time as "proprietor" (the name given to the host) of "The Place", a television show on WQED (Channel 13) that was a coffee-house style format.
In 1969, he was hired as a road game broadcaster for the Pitt Panthers basketball team. The following year, he became the regular color announcer for Pitt football play-by-play man Ed Conway. Following Conway's death in 1974, he assumed the play-by-play announcer duties.
Hillgrove was named the sports director for WTAE-TV in 1978 and acted as sports anchor for WTAE News.
After working for many years alongside famous color broadcaster Myron Cope, his Steeler broadcast partners now include former Steelers players like Merrill Hoge (former color), Tunch Ilkin (color), and Craig Wolfley (sideline). He also continues to broadcast Pitt football and basketball games. Former Pittsburgh Pirate Dick Groat serves as Hillgrove's broadcast partner for basketball. His partners for football have been Johnny Sauer (1974-1994), Bill Osborn (1995-2003), Bill Fralic (2004-2010), Pat Bostick (2010-2015). Bill Osborn returned to the booth in 2016 after Bostick stepped down.
He also broadcasts Pitt football and basketball games. Former Pittsburgh Pirate Dick Groat served as Hillgrove's broadcast partner for basketball until the 2018-2019 season, former Pitt player Curtis Aiken is now his broadcast partner. His partners for football have been Johnny Sauer (1974-1994), Bill Osborn (1995-2003), Bill Fralic (2004-2010), Pat Bostick (2010-2015, 2018-present). Bill Osborn (2015-2017).
Awards and recognition
In July 2012, in addition to his other duties, he began hosting a Saturday jazz program presented by the online Pittsburgh Jazz Channel.
Hillgrove married Rosette Sapienza, a vocal music teacher, in 1965. They have two children, William Paul and Leah, and two grandchildren, Jack William and Max Andrae, and live in Murrysville, Pennsylvania.
- Smizik, Bob (2007-05-17). "Bill Hillgrove winner of Schenkel Award". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Pittsburgh, PA. Retrieved 2009-01-08.
- Hillgrove proud to be a 'homer' By Doug Kennedy, PittsburghLIVE.com, November 19, 2004, accessed January 23, 2006