BYU head coach Kalani Sitake said he wanted to move “as fast as possible” in filling the top two vacancies on his staff on Monday.
Well, less than 36 hours later, Sitake delivered on filling at least one of those positions.
Weber State head coach Jay Hill is joining Sitake’s staff to lead his defense, multiple sources close to the program confirmed to The Salt Lake Tribune. The sources spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly on the move.
The news was first reported by Pete Thamel at ESPN, who said Hill will be Sitake’s next defensive coordinator. Hill’s official title is still being finalized, the sources said, with a formal announcement expected to come as early as Wednesday morning.
Hill was the head coach at Weber State for nine seasons and has connections to Sitake dating back to their days at the University of Utah.
Hill’s arrival comes after the departures of defensive coordinator Ilaisa Tuiaki and associate head coach Ed Lamb. Both longtime assistants came in with Sitake in 2016 and built the program for the last seven seasons.
The hire of Hill represents two major victories for Sitake’s program.
The first is Hill’s hire is a flex of BYU’s new monetary commitment in the Big 12 for Sitake’s pool of assistants. The ability to invest enough money to lure a well-paid, highly coveted head coach away from an FCS school to be an assistant at the Power Five level is not something BYU has been able to do in the past.
Hill will be making close to $1 million, according to a source with knowledge of the salary. It is a step up from his close to $300,000 contract value at Weber State, as was reported by the Ogden Standard-Examiner. He also had a $100,000 buyout in his contract, per the Standard-Examiner.
The second victory for Sitake rests in Hill’s credentials on the defensive side of the ball.
Hill has defensive play-calling experience while at Weber State. Although he was the head coach, he was also the defensive coordinator for seven of his nine seasons.
Sitake brought on Tuiaki without play-calling experience and was forced to take over the play-calling twice in his tenure. For the back half of this season, Sitake called plays this year as well.
In the Big 12, most head coaches do not call their own plays. Sitake expressed interest in wanting to spend the majority of his time overseeing the program, which he has done in the past. Hill’s hire will presumably help him do that.
Hill had Weber State ranked as high at the No. 3 team in the country at the FCS level in 2018. He went 68-39 as head coach and fielded one of the better statistical defenses in the nation.