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OGDEN — Faced with the thought of having a fourth head football coach in two years, Weber State athletic director Jerry Bovee said it was time to find a long-term solution in Ogden.
This time, every possible stone, every single variable would be examined with intensity to find the right coach for Weber State University. And, for now at least, the Wildcats are excited at the coach they have — former Utah special teams coordinator Jay Hill — and are looking forward to the future with Hill on the sidelines.
“We’re thrilled to have Jay join the Weber State family,” Bovee said in a press statement. “We had a number of high quality candidates and interest in our head coaching job and Jay emerged as the top choice. He has a reputation as one of the top recruiters in the area and has worked under some of the best coaches in the state.”
Hill, who has coached full-time at the University of Utah since 2005, said he is excited for the challenge ahead.
“My family and I are so excited to join the Weber State program,” Hill said. “There are so many great things in place at Weber State, and the tradition, facilities and overall program are primed for success. This is a place we can win and be successful, and I can’t wait to get started.”
My family and I are so excited to join the Weber State program. There are so many great things in place at Weber State, and the tradition, facilities and overall program are primed for success. This is a place we can win and be successful, and I can't wait to get started.
Bovee said his committee, which consisted of members such as WSU President Charles Wight and former WSU coach Jerry Graybeal, took every possible step to find the candidate who is right for the Wildcats.
“I spent a lot of time with Gary Andersen … every time I reached out to Gary, he called back immediately,” Bovee said. “I talked to Urban (Meyer), I talked to Kyle (Whittingham), I talked to coaches that he’s worked with at Utah. I made more phone calls in triplicate than I made last time around. I learned.”
For his part, Hill said the job interested him so much because of the accolades that were laid upon it by his mentors and coaching friends.
“I’ll be quite frank — Gary Andersen and Kyle Whittingham both told me that this is a job that they would have liked in their stages of their careers,” said Hill, who listed Andersen, Whittingham, Meyer and former Weber coach Ron McBride as influences. “They would have both wanted this job, as well.”
Weber State finished 2-10 on the season and 1-7 in the Big Sky Conference. The Wildcats ranked near the bottom of the conference on offense and defense, averaging only 15.8 points a game while surrendering 41.4 points a game.
Hill insisted that his teams will be at the cutting edge of what is going on in football, including taking advantage of exotic schemes.
“I believe offensively that your plays and your philosophy have to match your personnel,” he said. “I believe in up-tempo, I believe in personnel groups where we use the tight end … and again, I want to be up-tempo.”
As for now, there are several issues that need to be taken care of at the Weber program. First, the current assistant coaches need to be evaluated, and second, recruiting needs to be ramped up.
Hill answered the first issue by saying he will begin evaluating coaches immediately, and answered the second by saying in-state recruits will form the backbone of his recruiting classes.
“I’ve recruited in-state as the head recruiting coach at the University of Utah since 2008,” said Hill, who grew up in Utah County and attended Lehi High School. “If there’s anybody who knows the recruits in-state, I know them. Now, we’ve got to get them here.”