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OGDEN — Weber State football coach Jay Hill is busy.
Between working with his players during fall camp and preparing the Wildcats for their season opener at Utah State in just 11 days, Hill doesn’t have a lot of time on his hands.
But this summer, Hill is taking care of something much more important than a game.
Hill’s wife Sara was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma Aug. 9, and she is beginning chemotherapy as the Wildcats wrap up fall camp.
When Hill told his team, he was still in shock. But the team rallied around their coach, even volunteering to shave their heads as Sara prepared for chemo.
“He didn’t even know the day before he told us,” said wide receiver Drew Batchelor, a Dixie High product. “He rallied us together and told us that he doesn’t want it to be about me. It’s about the guys.
“But it’s definitely about him and his family. We’re here for her; we’re all one big family.”
If anyone can beat the devastating diagnosis that is cancer, Weber State quarterback Jadrian Clark said Sara can do it.
“She’s a strong woman,” Clark said after Weber’s final fall scrimmage. “Coach Hill has been amazing through all this: to come here every day with a smile on his face, with everything he has going on.
“That’s the least we can do is show up and support her.”
The Wildcats are in the middle of a rebuilding cycle. Weber State last made the FCS playoffs in 2009, and won just two games in three-straight years, including Hill’s first season in 2014.
Last season, the former Utah assistant coach helped the school to a 6-5 record, including a 5-3 mark in Big Sky play that included the Wildcats’ first win at Montana since 1987.
Even as the rebuilding process continues, the Wildcats are reminded that there is more to life than just football.
“It’s definitely humbling,” Batchelor said. “But she knows she has all of us behind her, and we’re one big family.”