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UNLV Would Be Perfect Fit For WSU Head Coach Jay Hill

Head coach Jay Hill of the Weber State Wildcats stands on the sidelines during their game against the California Golden Bears at California Memorial Stadium on September 9, 2017 in Berkeley, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

OGDEN, UtahΒ – UNLV Athletic Director, Desiree Reed-Francois, is looking for a new football coach following the firing of Tony Sanchez, who spent five years in the role. A number of candidates have been mentioned, including former Utah offensive coordinator Troy Taylor, however, their best option resides in the outskirts of Salt Lake City.

Jay Hill, the head coach of the Weber State Wildcats, is the ideal candidate for the job.

There are multiple reasons suggesting Hill is poised to take over the role as head coach of the UNLV Rebels.

Program Changer

This is not the first time UNLV has fired a football coach, nor will it be the last. However, it seems as though they have had a below-average football team for a long time. Since their inaugural season in 1968, the Rebels have only played in four bowl games, their last coming in 2014 when they lost to North Texas in the Heart of Dallas Bowl 36-14.

Hill took over the reins at Weber in 2014 and has taken that football program to unprecedented heights. He has won the Big Sky Conference title the past three years, that includes two trips to the FCS Quarterfinals before bowing out.

In 2013, the year prior to Hill’s arrival, the Weber State football program went 2-10.

I have known coach Hill since 2012, he recruited me from Australia back when he was the Special Teams coach at the University of Utah, and have spoken with him about how he was able to transform the Weber State program a number of times.

A lot of effort and perseverance. Trying to weed out a number of players that were not bought into the program. The change was not immediate, in Hill’s first year as head coach he also went 2-10. However, the shift started to occur in year two when he went 6-5.

Since then, he has transformed the Weber State football program into a perennial FCS powerhouse.

Vegas Is His Stomping Ground

For as long as Hill has been coaching, he has recruited the Vegas area. He knows the streets well and has created relationships with all the relevant high school coaches.

The key to creating a solid foundation is in-state recruiting. Coaches put a high priority on gathering interest from high school players that live and play in their back yard. While Hill has been with Weber State he has put a large emphasis on attending local high schools in the hopes of recruiting talented young men that are not generating the same interest as schools such as Utah or BYU.

Hill has told me that if he were to ever leave Weber State, he would only leave for another West Coast program. His recruiting strengths lie in the West and he does not shy away from that.

In the Weber State 2019 recruiting class, Hill has already signed a number of very talented players – including a pair of three-star prospects, Dontae McMillan and Garrett Beck out of Seattle, Washington and Rocky Mountain, Idaho respectively. Desmond Williams is a transfer from Boise State, an FBS institution.

The success of Weber State Football shows in the 2019 recruiting class.

The Bottom Line

UNLV is an interesting school to coach at. Vegas is known for its gambling and party-like atmosphere. I assume that one of the biggest hurdles for head coaches in the Vegas area is getting the kids to focus on school and football and keeping them away from the danger that the Vegas strip presents.

Hill is a devoted member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, he is a family man who works tirelessly to provide for his family. He frequently speaks to his players about the importance of staying grounded, having fun but staying out of trouble.

I have no doubt, that if Hill were to take over as the UNLV head football coach, his players would focus entirely on their academics and football careers.

Coach Hill also has very influential mentors in the football world. Kalani Sitake and Kyle Whittingham are close friends of his who he speaks with regularly.