Ogden • After receiving an offer to become the football coach at Weber State, Jay Hill talked to former bosses Kyle Whittingham and Gary Andersen.
When Whittingham and Andersen told him they would have wanted the job at a similar point in their careers, Hill liked what he heard.
Jay Hill file
Born » March 16, 1975
Hometown » Lehi
Education » Ricks College, University of Utah
Family » Wife (Sara), four children
Career » Played at Ricks College and the University of Utah (1998-99). ... Was named the Utes’ defensive MVP as a senior. ... After a brief attempt at pro football, he spent three seasons at Utah as a graduate assistant and administrative assistant starting in 2001. ... Became Utah’s special teams and cornerbacks coach in 2005. ... Has also coached running backs and tight ends at Utah.
Hill took the job Wednesday. He was formally introduced as Weber State’s new coach Thursday during a press conference at Stewart Stadium.
Hill, 38, has spent the last 13 years at Utah as an administrative assistant, graduate assistant and full-time assistant coach.
He has never been an offensive or defensive coordinator, but the Lehi native believes working for Ron McBride, Urban Meyer, Whittingham and Andersen has prepared him for the opportunity.
"I’m all about energy, effort and excitement," Hill said. "... I want this thing rocking [and] that starts with winning. That’s my job — to get a winning product on the field. And we will get that."
Hill is Weber State’s third head coach since April 23, 2012, when John L. Smith abruptly resigned four months into the job. Assistant coach Jody Sears was promoted to replace Smith, but he went only 4-19 over the last two seasons and was fired two weeks ago.
"He was put into a very difficult situation," Weber State athletic director Jerry Bovee said. "You’ll never meet a finer man than Jody Sears. ... I wish him the best."
According to Bovee, his search for a new coach focused on someone who is honest, communicates well, can recruit productively in the state and finds players with character.
"Jay Hill is uniquely aligned with the attributes we were seeking," Bovee said.
Hill, who got a four-year contract, has been in charge of Utah’s local recruiting since 2008.
"If there’s anybody who knows recruits in-state, I know them," he said. "Now we have to get them here. ... It will be an emphasis of ours."
Asked about the character issue of his players, Hill said, "... We don’t want a bunch of hoodlums out running the streets that we’re not proud of."
Hill will meet with each assistant at Weber State before putting together his staff. He is not sure whether any other Utah assistants will be joining him.
"Quite frankly," he said, "I can’t comment on that yet."
Whittingham gave Hill his first full-time coaching job in 2005 and provided valuable lessons in the profession.
"That guy is as good as any coach in the country," Hill said. "He’s as good an X’s and O’s guy as there is. He taught me discipline and structure."
Whittingham tried to keep Hill, whose base salary at Utah was $220,000.
"I don’t believe I was a coach he wanted to lose," Hill said. "... It was one of those situations he didn’t want to happen for him. He came back and countered, trying to keep me there. But it was also something he knew I wanted. I wanted to be a head coach. It was something I was aspiring to."
In a statement, Whittingham said, "Jay has done a great job for our program ... in many capacities and we will miss him. He’s one of the top special teams coaches in the country and he’s ready to become a head coach. We wish him all the best as he takes the next step in his coaching career."
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