I think we've got some good kids coming back. I know they were really young last year, but we're excited to get in there and show the kids what we like to do and get the players familiar with how we want to run the program. —David Hastings
MIDVALE — Hillcrest has been searching for the winning recipe on the gridiron for a decade. The Huskies are 26-74 since their last winning season in 2003, but on Wednesday the program feels it found the right ingredient.
Hillcrest principal Sue Malone announced the hiring of former Lehi coach David Hastings in a statement for Canyons School District.
“We believe that in Coach Hastings we have found a great match for the future of Hillcrest football,” Malone said. “We look forward to a lot of hard work and dedication from Coach Hastings and our student athletes as they prepare offseason for the upcoming 2014 season.”
Hastings’ proven track record of revitalizing downward programs appealed to Hillcrest.
"I think they've got a good base to start with," Hastings said. "I think we've got some good kids coming back. I know they were really young last year, but we're excited to get in there and show the kids what we like to do and get the players familiar with how we want to run the program."
Hastings cited differences of opinion in early January when he parted ways with Lehi after leading the program to respectability in 2013 with a 5-5 record. In the previous five years before his arrival, the Pioneers recorded an overall record of 3-46 with a 26-game losing streak stretching form 2008-10.
"What we've talked about is going in and establishing the weight lifting program and trying to get more people involved in that," Hastings said. "I think that's where it all starts."
Hastings brings his run-oriented offense with him. Last year, Caden Calton rushed for 1,954 yards and 24 touchdowns for the Pioneers, but Hastings was intrigued with the possibilites of quarterback Tanner Thompson, who will be a four-year starter behind center. Thompson has 2,570 career total yards and 28 touchdowns.
"We want to be able to grind it out a little bit. We really liked what we did at (Lehi) where at times we were able to spread it out and be effective," Hastings. "One thing Hillcrest has is a returning quarterback that looks really good on film right now. I need to get a chance to meet with him a little bit, but I think combining our power game and his ability to throw the ball could be really effective this next year."