Deseret News
A.J. Merlino gets instruction from coach Jay Hill during Univerisity of Utah football practice Tuesday, April 16, 2013, in Salt Lake City.

OGDEN — Utah special teams coordinator Jay Hill will be introduced as the new head football coach at Weber State Thursday morning. Hill replaces Jody Sears, who was fired Nov. 26 after two seasons at the helm. The Wildcats were 4-19 under Sears, including a 3-13 mark in Big Sky Conference play.

Hill, 38, has spent the past nine seasons on Kyle Whittingham’s staff at Utah. He’s been the Utes’ special teams coordinator since 2007 and was the co-special teams coordinator from 2005-06. In addition, Hill has coached various position groups, including cornerbacks (2005-06, 2010-11), tight ends (2007-09, 2013) and running backs (2012). All-Americans Eric Weddle (2006), Louie Sakoda (2007-08), Shaky Smithson (2010) and Reggie Dunn (2012) are among the position players he has coached.

When Weber State athletic director Jerry Bovee dismissed Sears, he explained what attributes he sought in the next coach.

"We're looking for someone who wants to be here with the resources and the facilities and all that we offer here," Bovee said, "someone that understands a little about Weber State, the program's history and the community and how to recruit here, someone who wants in-state kids in our program, and someone who can show us their vision of how the program should be. ... We're proud of what we have here.”

Before becoming a full-time member of the Utah coaching staff, Hill served the program as a graduate and administrative assistant from 2001-04. He was a starting cornerback for the Utes from 1998-99 and led the Mountain West Conference in interceptions as a senior — earning team defensive MVP honors and second-team all-conference recognition in the process.

Hill received academic accolades from the MWC twice and received a National Football Foundation Unsung Hero Award in 1999. He played for the XFL’s Orlando Rage and signed a free agent contract with the NFL’s Buffalo Bills a year later.

Before signing with Utah, Hill was an All-American at Ricks College. The Lehi native and his wife Sara are the parents of four children.


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