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Jay Hill becomes winningest football coach in Weber State football history

By Brett Hein - | Oct 2, 2021

ROBBY LLOYD, Special to the Standard-Examiner

Weber State head coach Jay Hill talks with Keilan Benjamin (10) during the opening day of Weber State's 2017 fall camp Aug. 1 at Stewart Stadium in Ogden.

Jay Hill has led a football team that has broken most records at Weber State during his eight seasons as head coach.

Before Hill, the Wildcats had never won consecutive Big Sky Conference titles and no coach had won more than two; now, WSU is a reigning four-time champion.

Before Hill, WSU had never played a home playoff game. Under Hill, Weber State has played six home playoff games and advanced to the FCS semifinals for the first time in program history.

Before Hill, WSU had never been ranked higher than No. 5 in major polls; the Wildcats reached No. 2 in the spring season and spent more than 20 weeks ranked higher than fifth from 2018-2021.

In 52 seasons before Hill, Weber State had spent a total of 14 weeks ranked in the top 10. In the last eight seasons, the Wildcats have spent 42 weeks in the top 10. WSU has currently been ranked for 50 consecutive weeks.

Saturday in San Luis Obispo, California, Hill may have officially put the final stamp on becoming the best football coach of the 10 in Weber State’s 60-year NCAA history.

Hill now tops the list for all-time coaching wins at Weber State with 54 after the Wildcats defeated Cal Poly 38-7.

“It means a lot. Weber State has been so important to Sara and I, and our family, and just what it’s represented to our kids. You don’t get here without phenomenal assistant coaches who’ve done a great job of recruiting, done a great job of coaching these kids to act and perform the right way,” Hill said in a postgame radio interview.

“And then, first and foremost, I’ve got a list of 300 players or more that you can go down and say, ‘couldn’t be here without that guy, couldn’t be here without that guy.’ So I hope all the players and everybody listening knows how much I appreciate them in the past and just how much they’ve meant to Sara and I and our family.

“It’s been a heck of a ride and … we’re just starting still.”

Saturday’s win moves Hill past Dave Arslanian, who went 53-47 from 1989-97.

Hill is now 40-15 in Big Sky games, far and away the best winning percentage for a WSU coach at .727.

“I bought into what this place could become. I knew we could recruit to Ogden. It’s such a great place, it’s a hidden gem,” Hill said. “I knew we could … get great players to buy into what we were doing. We started recruiting some more local kids that take pride in what we’re building … and it’s just got better and better. I don’t see it stopping. We’ve got to find ways, obviously, to keep winning games, but I like where we’re at.”

Hill’s overall 54-34 mark is a .614 win percentage, which is second in program history to Sark Arslanian, who went 50-26-2 (.654) from 1965-72 — with the caveat that those teams did not play games against higher-subdivision teams. Removing Hill’s eight losses to FBS teams, his record is 54-26 (.675).

“I remember after our second year, we’d just had the first winning season in five or six years, we still weren’t close to where we were going to get and then you find out Sara’s got cancer. The way the community and the administration and everybody kind of got behind us has been so critical to Sara and the kids and myself,” Hill said. “That’s kind of what helped build that family atmosphere that you hear the players talk so much about.

“That’s really what this is all about, watching boys grow into men and us being part of something special in their lives and in football. It’s been a great place.”

Junior running back Josh Davis also moved into third place on Weber State’s all-time career rushing list. He ran 11 times for 57 yards Saturday, seeing limited action after getting banged up early, which moved his career total to 3,104 rushing yards.


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