PROVO, Utah (ABC4 Sports) – Weber State’s all-time winningest head coach is leaving the school to become the new defensive coordinator at BYU.
Hill has spent the last nine seasons at the helm of the Weber State football team, where he completely resurrected the Wildcats program. Hill led Weber State to four Big Sky Conference titles, six appearances in the FCS Playoffs, winning more games than any other head coach in school history, going 68-39. This past season, Weber State was 10-3, advancing to the second round of the FCS Playoffs.
“I am pleased to announce Jay Hill as our associate head coach and new defensive coordinator,” head coach Kalani Sitake said. “Jay is a leader. I have worked with Jay for nine years while we were at Utah together, so I know first-hand how like-minded we are defensively, how great of a recruiter he is and how committed he is to developing players. He has done an amazing job everywhere he has been, including building and leading the Weber State program most recently, and I’m excited to now have him here at BYU.”
Hill replaces Ilaisa Tuiaki, who resigned November 27th after seven seasons as Sitake’s defensive coordinator. The BYU defense struggled mightily this season, giving up an average of 30 points and over 400 yards per game.
After giving up 52 points and 644 total yards to Arkansas in October, Sitake took over the defensive play calling duties, signifying a change was coming.
Hill signed a two-year contract extension in February 2021 with Weber State that was to take him through the 2025 season. BYU is expected to pay a $100,000 buyout to the school.
“I’m very excited to be joining Kalani and the rest of the BYU staff,” Hill said. “They have an outstanding program that wins on and off the field. BYU’s brand is nationally recognized and respected, and I can’t wait to get to coaching, recruiting and winning in the Big 12.”
Hill, who played at the University of Utah, coached as an assistant with Sitake under Kyle Whittingham at Utah from 2005-2013.
Defensively, Weber State has been among the top performers in the FCS, finishing in the top 30 in total defense and scoring defense in five consecutive seasons, including a top 10 ranking in passing defense, No. 15 mark in total defense and top 20 in scoring defense the last two seasons.
Last year Hill’s defense ranked No. 15 in total defense, allowing just 324.1 yards per game, and No. 15 in scoring defense at 20.4 points per game. The Wildcats were No. 4 in team pass efficiency defense, allowing a rate of 106.38, and ranked No. 5 in third-down conversion defense, allowing a conversion percentage of just 31.3 percent last season.
Sitake also announced the addition of former BYU linebacker and assistant coach Kelly Poppinga as special teams coordinator and defensive assistant coach.
“Kelly is a BYU guy who has a ton of previous experience with BYU football, having both played here and coached here,” Sitake said. “He’s recruited and coached some great players over his career, guys he has helped get to the NFL. Kelly is a tireless worker and a relentless recruiter. He brings outstanding experience as a special teams coordinator and defensive coach and coordinator from his time at Virginia in the ACC and with Boise State. I’m excited to have him back at BYU.”
“I am so excited to work with Kelly,” said Hill. “Having coached against him when he was a player, I saw his toughness and tenacity up close. As a coach, his players always performed great on game day. He is a phenomenal recruiter that does the little things right and will bring great players into our program. BYU is lucky to have Kelly back, and I’m super excited to be working side-by-side with him. We can’t wait to bring championship defense to Provo.”
Earlier in the day, associate head coach Ed Lamb announced he is leaving BYU to become the head coach at Northern Colorado.