Who will replace Jay Hill as Weber State's head coach? Here are 5 options

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OGDEN — It's been almost 10 years but Weber State is, once again, in the market for a new head coach.

Jay Hill, head of the Wildcats football team for nine seasons, accepted the defensive coordinator and associate head coach position on BYU's football staff. The news broke Tuesday night and was made official by BYU Wednesday morning.

While the news may come hard to fans and players who had love and respect for Hill and everything he did for the Weber State program, college football is a business, and accepting a coordinator position at a Power Five school could buoy his career and lead to bigger opportunities down the line.

In his first season in Ogden, Hill's team went 2-10 as he made the transition from longtime assistant at Utah to first-time head coach at a struggling FCS program. But from that year on, the Wildcats had an above .500 winning percentage in every season, including a 10-3 year in 2022 and another trip to the playoffs.

Hill leaves Weber as the winningest coach in program history, with an 68-39 overall record, six FCS playoff appearances and four Big Sky Conference championships.

"I also felt like we had accomplished so much at Weber State," Hill said in his introductory BYU press conference about the decision to move on. "For nine years, my wife and I and kids had put in our blood, sweat and tears into that program; built it into something that I felt was self-sustainable now. I believe that that program will continue to get better. It was the next venture in life that I felt we needed to take."

With their season officially over and Hill officially gone, it's time for the Wildcats to look to the future and the next person in charge.

The following is a look at candidates who have either head coaching experience, connections to the school, or would make solid first-time head coaches. It also includes both in-house candidates and perhaps an out-of-the-box hire or two — they're not ranked in any particular order.

Brent Myers

Weber State: Associate head coach, offensive line coach

If the Wildcats are looking for a safe hire, look no further than Myers, who has been with the program as long as Hill has. He came to the school in Jan. 2014 as one of Hill's first hires.

Myers knows the program and held the same positions throughout Hill's tenure as head coach. While it wouldn't be a splashy hire by any means, for a program that's been built up and found so much success over the last six or seven years, Myers has the capabilities to keep that going.

He also has an extensive coaching resume and has been in the business for over three decades. His career as a coach began shortly after his college graduation from Eastern Washington, and he's since made his way through the FCS, Group of Five and Power Five ranks before settling at Weber State.

Fesi Sitake

BYU: Receivers coach, passing game coordinator

The cousin of the man whose staff Hill is joining, Sitake would be intriguing as a younger, first-time head coach. Another man who's been coaching since his graduation from college but for a lot less time than Myers, Sitake first came to Weber State during Hill's first season, as well.

Sitake started out coaching wide receivers and was the passing game coordinator from 2014-15 — the two positions he currently holds with BYU — and then transitioned to offensive coordinator for two seasons from 2016-17. His offenses averaged 29.9 points per game during his stint as offensive coordinator and he brought a unique passing attack to the Wildcats.

Predominantly an offensive coach, Sitake would bring a different perspective to the Weber State program. While Hill knew how a successful offense should run, he had long found success on the defensive and special teams sides of the ball. He's a younger guy, but if Weber wanted to take a chance with a youthful, first-time head coach, Sitake would be a solid option.

Colton Swan

Utah: Linebackers coach

Swan has the deepest connection to Weber State out of any of the candidates mentioned here. Though he's spent the last four seasons as a positions coach at Utah, before that he spent 15 years at Weber State and served in a variety of capacities.

During his time in Ogden, Swan coached safeties, linebackers, tight ends and led as defensive coordinator and special teams coordinator. He spent the most time as linebackers coach for seven years and finished as special teams coordinator for the last five seasons before moving on and taking the position in Salt Lake City.

He's had a lot of recent success by putting linebackers in the NFL, with Devin Lloyd going in the first round of the 2022 NFL draft, and has helped two others sign contracts as free agents. Like Hill, he'd bring a strong defensive and special teams background to the team, which could work out well since the team just finished its first year with new offensive coordinator Mickey Mental.

The biggest hinderance to Swan taking the position is it would be a financial step down from what he's making at Utah. Most Power Five coaches and coordinators would prefer a Group of Five head coaching job over an FCS one like Weber State. But perhaps, his history with the program will lead him that way anyway.

David Fiefia

Weber State: tight ends coach

Another assistant coach who could possibly be looked at for a first-time head coaching position, Fiefia is relatively new to Weber State. The 2022 season was his first with the program after having spent the previous seven seasons at Idaho State, five of them as assistant head coach.

Fiefia's familiarity with the Big Sky Conference and recruiting could serve him well as the man in charge. When the announcement came that he'd be joining Weber State's staff, Hill specifically made mention of his ability to win recruiting battles.

"David has been one of the top assistant coaches in the Big Sky Conference the last few years," Hill said in a Weber State press release. "We have had had numerous recruiting battles with him where I saw what a great recruiter he is. He has established outstanding relationships with his players and has a great football mind. He will be a huge asset to our program moving forward."

Though there might be more seasoned coaches currently on the Wildcats' staff, Fiefia could turn heads if given the opportunity.

Frank Maile

Boise State: assistant head coach, defensive line coach

Though he's never held the title without "interim" in front of it, Maile could excel in a head coaching role. He spent the last two seasons with Boise State, and before that spent the previous decade with Utah State divided by a two-year stint at Vanderbilt.

He was the interim head coach in Utah State's 2018 New Mexico Bowl victory over North Texas and for the final three games of the COVID-shortened 2020 season. Players lobbied for him to be the new head coach in Logan following that year and there seemed strong support for him before the job eventually went to Blake Anderson.

Maile is another coach who's spent most of his time on the defensive side of the ball. The only time he's worked with an offensive position was with Utah State tight ends in 2019. He's a quality defensive mind who could transition well into the post-Hill era at Weber State. He's been a successful recruiter in the state of Utah and could build off the already strong foundation that Hill left behind.

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