Coach Hill confirms interview for UW job

Fresno State coach Pat Hill is in talks with the University of Washington to take over as the new head coach.
Bryan Cole / The Collegian

Pat Hill may be looking for a fresh start following 7-5 season

With rumors swirling and the future of the program unknown, head coach Pat Hill announced that he has interviewed for the vacant coaching position at the University of Washington of the Pac-10.

This season, the Huskies football team has gone 0-11 and is the only team in the Football Bowl Subdivision team to go winless. Tyrone Willingham was fired earlier this season, but has remained the coach and will coach the final game of the season this Saturday against Cal.

Other potential candidates for the position are Utah coach Kyle Whittingham, Cincinnati coach Brian Kelly and Texas Tech coach Mike Leach. None of the other coaches has confirmed interviews with the university.

Hill has flirted with leaving Fresno before, but has come back and said that he enjoys living and working in Fresno too much to leave. He has also expressed the sentiment that his work with the Bulldogs is not yet complete and he still has goals to fulfill.

He has been the coach of the program for the past 12 seasons, but might have finally found the right job to lure him away from Fresno State.

Before Sunday’s team awards banquet, Hill did confirm that he flew this past Saturday to Seattle to interview with Washington officials. He said the interview went very well, but gave no expectations regarding a timetable.

“It was a great conversation,” Hill said. “And in the end, I’ll say this: Whoever accepts that job is going to have a great challenge but a great opportunity to be successful.”

In the interview, Hill said he and officials talked about the future of Washington and his plans for reaching goals.

He was not specific and did not confirm any offers.

“They talked about their goals, their expectations, the facilities they’re going to build and the things they’re going to do to put Washington back on the map amongst the best teams in America,” Hill said. “That’s what they want to do. They asked me about what my blueprint for success was, what my expectations and goals were.”

The Bulldog coach has gone 92-60 in his tenure with Fresno State and has participated in eight bowl games with the program. Hill has failed to win an outright conference title, winning only a third of the crown in 1999.

He has two years left on his contract with Fresno State, paying around $1.2 million dollars a year when incentives are reached.

Fresno State administration is not surprised that other schools would be interested in hiring Hill, especially with the reputation he has built.

“If you have a coach who’s successful, it’s not unusual other schools are going to talk to him,” athletic director Thomas Boeh said. “What we’re trying to do is create an environment for coaches to stay for a long time, if they choose. Or if they’re inclined to move on after a few years, we want them to be as successful as they can be while they’re here then leave for a good job.”

If Hill is offered the position and decided to leave the Bulldogs for a spot in the Pac-10 and a Bowl Championship Series team, Boeh feels like the Bulldogs’ program can rebound.

“I’m pretty confident, if we lose a coach, regardless who it may be, we can react. We’d be prepared.”

Additional reporting and information provided by McClatchy News Services.

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