The 2016 season was the third season for Jay Hill as the head coach at Weber State. In 2016, he led the Wildcats to a winning record, a third-place finish in the Big Sky, and a trip to the FCS Playoffs.
Hill was named the 11th head coach in Weber State football history in December 2013. After three seasons at WSU, he has a career record of 15-20 overall and is 13-11 in Big Sky Conference games. He has coached 34 players to Big Sky All-Conference honors and two players have earned All-American honors.
In 2016, Hill guided Weber State to a 7-5 record. The Wildcats finished 6-2 in Big Sky Conference play, finishing third in the conference standings, Weber State’s highest finish since 2009. Weber State also qualified for the FCS Playoffs for the first time since 2009. The Wildcats were also ranked nationally during the season for the first time in six years.
Weber State’s defense led the Big Sky in passing defense. During the season the ‘Cats won five-straight games, including a dramatic comeback with at Southern Utah, where the Wildcats rallied for a 22-point deficit in the final eight minutes of the game. Weber State also posted back-to-back winning seasons for the first time in six years. The Wildcats had 13 players earn Big Sky All-Conference honors, including Andrew Vollert and Tre’von Johnson and the first team. Vollert was also named an All-American at Weber State.
In 2015, Hill guided the Wildcats to a 6-5 overall record and a 5-3 record in Big Sky play. It was Weber State’s first winning season in five years and included several key victories. The Wildcats picked up a 24-21 overtime in at Montana, their first win in Missoula since 1987. Weber State also finished the year 4-1 at home with wins over Sacramento State, North Dakota, UC Davis and Idaho State. WSU had 10 players earn Big Sky All-Conference honors and Joe Hawkins earned All-American honors. Weber State also led the Big Sky in total defense under Hill’s leadership.
In 2014, his first season as a head coach, Hill led the Wildcats to a 2-10 overall record and a 2-6 mark in Big Sky play. Under his direction, Weber State saw dramatic improvements statistically and finished the season in the top third in the Big Sky in several categories. He also coached 11 Wildcats that earned Big Sky All-Conference honors.
Hill, 40, a longtime assistant coach at the University of Utah, came to WSU with a reputation as one of the top recruiters in the West and has spent time working for three different head coaches at Utah.
He spent 13 years (2001-13) at Utah, including the last nine seasons as a full-time assistant coach under Kyle Whittingham. Prior to that, he spent four years as a graduate assistant and administrative assistant with the Utes under legendary coaches Ron McBride and Urban Meyer.
The Lehi, Utah native played college football at Ricks Junior College, where he earned junior college All-American honors at cornerback. He went on to play two seasons (1998-99) at Utah under Ron McBride. As a senior he led the Mountain West in interceptions, was named Utah’s Defensive MVP and earned second team All-Conference honors. He later played briefly in the XFL and signed free agent contracts with the Buffalo Bills and New York Giants.
After his playing career he spent three seasons as a graduate assistant coach and one year as an administrative assistant, working for McBride and Meyer.
In 2005, he became a full-time assistant coach under Whittingham. All nine seasons he spent at Utah he worked as the special teams coordinator. He also coached on offense and defense, coaching the cornerbacks (2005-06; 2010-11), running backs (2012) and tight ends (2007-09; 2013).
Utah’s special teams excelled under Hill. In 2006 the Utes led the nation in net punting. They led the Mountain West in kickoff coverage four straight seasons and led the Pac-12 in the category in 2011, Utah’s first year in the conference. In 2012 Utah was sixth in the nation in kick return average and this past season the Utes again led the Pac-12 in net punting and finished 10th in the nation. In 2008 Hill was a finalist for the FootballScoop Special Teams Coordinator of the Year.
In his career at Utah, Hill served as the position coach for five All-Americans: defensive back Eric Weddle in 2006, punter Louie Sakoda in 2007, Sakoda as a place kicker in 2008, punt returner Shaky Smithson in 2010 and kick returner Reggie Dunn in 2012. Weddle was drafted in the second round of the 2007 NFL Draft by the San Diego Chargers and is a Pro Bowl safety. Sakoda, the only unanimous consensus All-American in Utah football history, was a Lou Groza and Ray Guy finalist in 2008. Smithson led the nation in punt returns yards and average in 2010. Hill also mentored NFL draft picks Sean Smith, Brice McCain, R.J. Stanford and Brandon Burton.
During his tenure with the Utes, Hill became acclaimed as a top recruiter. Rivals.com named him to its “Class of 2009 Top 25 Recruiters” and named him one of the Top 10 Recruiters in the Pac-12 in 2012.
Hill earned a bachelor’s degree in Spanish in 2000 from Utah and earned his master’s degree in ESS/Sports Psychology in 2005.
He and his wife Sara have four children: Ashtyn, Alayna, Allie and Jacob.