Jeff Grimes, Jay Hill Among Candidates Interviewed For Utah State Coaching Vacancy

Dec 7, 2020, 12:17 PM

(Photo courtesy of Deseret News)...

(Photo courtesy of Deseret News)

(Photo courtesy of Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The head coaching search is heating up at Utah State as they look for the next person to rebuild the Aggie football program.

Sources have told KSL Sports that Utah State has interviewed BYU offensive coordinator Jeff Grimes and Weber State head coach Jay Hill. Also, Utah State interim head coach Frank Maile, Tulane head coach Willie Fritz and Kent State head coach Sean Lewis has interviewed for the vacant head coaching job as well.

Utah State fired head coach Gary Andersen on November 7 after the Aggies started the 2020 season 0-3. Associate head coach and co-defensive coordinator Frank Maile was named interim head coach. Since Andersen’s dismissal, Utah State is 1-2.

Jay Hill

Hill has strong ties to the state of Utah as a former player and coordinator for the Utes and now reviving the Weber State football program. Entering his seventh season as the head coach of Weber State, Hill transformed the Wildcats’ program and led them to four-straight FCS Playoff appearances, three-straight Big Sky titles and three-straight 10-win seasons. Weber State reached the semifinals of the FCS Playoffs last season. This season, Hill’s squad is a FCS National Championship contender.

Hill was a cornerback at Utah from 1998-99 before becoming a graduate assistant in 2001. Utah promoted Hill to cornerbacks coach and co-special teams coordinator, where he held that position for two seasons from 2005-06. Hill became the tight ends coach and special teams coordinator from 2007-09 before returning to coaching the cornerbacks from 2010-11. The Lehi, Utah native coached the running backs and tight ends for one season each in 2012 and 2013 before being named the head coach of Weber State in 2014.

Jeff Grimes

Grimes has been coaching football since 1995. After his playing career as an offensive tackle at UTEP from 1987-90, Grimes became a graduate assistant at Rice for the 1995 season before serving in the same role for two seasons at Texas A&M. Grimes became the offensive line coach for Hardin Simons University from 1998-99.

After spending the 2000 season as the OL coach for Boise State, he joined Arizona State’s staff as the offensive line coach and running game coordinator from 2001-03. Grimes then spent time as the offensive line coach for BYU from 2004-06. Then Grimes made the move over the rocky mountains to Boulder to be the associate head coach, offensive line coach and the running game coordinator for Colorado from 2007-08. Grimes moved down to the SEC to coach the o-line at Auburn from 2009-12 before going to Virginia Tech for the 2013 season.

Grimes then moved over to LSU to coach the offensive line and was the running game coordinator for the Tigers from 2014-17. He went back to BYU to be the offensive coordinator in 2018. Grimes has been a big part of BYU’s offensive success as the Cougars have one of the best offensive units in the country in 2020.

Frank Maile

Maile is in his second stint as the interim head coach for Utah State. The first time was in 2018 when Matt Wells was named the head coach of Texas Tech, Maile was the interim head coach for their bowl game. The Kearns, Utah native was a defensive lineman for Utah State from 2004-07. He became a graduate assistant for two seasons in 2009-10 at USU before being hired to coach the defensive line from 2011-13.

Maile was hired by Vanderbilt to be the defensive line coach for two seasons in 2014-15 before joining Utah State again as the associate head coach, co-defensive coordinator and defensive line coach from 2016-18. When Gary Andersen returned to run the Aggies’ football program, Maile was the associate head coach and tight ends coach. He was promoted to associate head coach, co-defensive coordinator and defensive line coach in 2020 before taking over as the interim head coach.

Willie Fritz

Fritz is in his fifth season as the head coach of Tulane. He began coaching in 1982 with stints at Pittsburg State, Shanee Mission NW High School, Sam Houston State, Willis High School (TX), and Coffeyville Community College. His first head coaching experience was in 1993 with Blinn College where he won two NJCAA National Championship. In 1997, Fritz became the head coach at Central Missouri from 1997-09. Fritz then jumped over the Sam Houston State as the head coach from 2010-13.

Fritz was hired as the head coach of Georgia Southern where he was at the helm from 2014-15. Tulane hired Fritz to take over their program in 2016. During his time with the Green Wave, Fritz is 29-32 with two bowl appearances.

Sean Lewis

Lewis is in his third season as the Kent State head coach. This is his first head coaching job of his career. He began his coaching career at Harold L. Richards HS from 2007-09. Lewis moved to the college ranks in 2010, coaching the tight ends in 2010. After a GA stint at Akron, Lewis was hired by Eastern Illinois in 2012 to coach the wide receivers and tight ends. In 2014, Lewis went to Bowling Green as the wide receivers coach for one season before being promoted to co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach in 2015. In 2016, Lewis spent two years as the co-OC and quarterbacks coach for Syracuse before being hired as the head coach of Kent State.

While with the Golden Flashes, Lewis has led the program to a 12-17 record, including a win over Utah State in the Frisco Bowl in 2019.

Graham Harrell

Sources told KSL Sports that USC offensive coordinator Graham Harrell has not interviewed for the Utah State job. The Aggies have expressed interest in Harrell. The former Texas Tech quarterback started coaching in 2009 as a quality control coach at Oklahoma State. He got back into coaching in 2014 as the outside receivers coach at Washington State. In 2016, Harrell was hired by North Texas to be the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. He was the play caller for the Mean Green when Utah State played them in the New Mexico Bowl in 2018. In 2019, Harrell was hired by USC to be their OC and QB coach.

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Jeff Grimes, Jay Hill Among Candidates Interviewed For Utah State Coaching Vacancy