PROVO, Utah (ABC4 Sports) – Even though he played and coached at Utah, Jay Hill, who grew up in Lehi, was a BYU fan as a kid.
“My parents went to BYU, I grew up a BYU fan,” Hill said Wednesday after taking over for Ilaisa Tuiaki. “I remember as a child going to football games in LaVell Edwards Stadium. It’s kind of weird how life brings you full circle.
Hill won four Big Sky Conference titles, and made the FCS playoffs six times, but he felt this was the right time to move on.
“We had accomplished so much at Weber State,” said Hill, who is the Wildcats all-time leader in victories with 68. “For nine years, my wife and I and kids had put our blood, sweat and tears into that program. We built it into something that I felt was self-sustainable now. I believe that program will continue to get better.”
So Hill is now reunited with Kalani Sitake, who he coached with at Utah under Kyle Whittingham.
“I had the honor of working with him at Utah for nine years,” Sitake said. “I’ve seen the things that he’s done at Weber State, and we speak the same language when it comes to defensive football. I’ve been really impressed with what he’s done, and I’ve seen it first hand. The knowledge that he has in all three phases. He is a special teams guru in addition to what he does with defense. But also, he has experience coaching on the offensive side of the ball too.”
Hill has his work cut out for him as BYU moves into the Big 12. This season, the Cougars have given up an average of 30 points and over 400 yards per game.
“I think it’s going to look very similar to what Kalani ran when he was the defensive coordinator back at the University of Utah. We worked so closely together on that. I think it’s going to look a lot like what we ran the last couple years at Weber State that led the league every year we coordinated it.”
Coaching in the Big 12 Conference was also a big draw for Hill when considering the job.
“I’m excited to get going and get grinding away at high level, big-time Power-5 football,” Hill said. “We’re going to put a product on the field that I promise the fans will be excited about.”