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Taking a closer look at Pat Hill

Pat Hill is a 1973 graduate of UC Riverside and was an offensive lineman on the football team. Hill began his coaching career as the offensive line coach at Los Angeles Valley College from 1974 to 1976.

In 1977, he became the offensive line coach at Utah where he would stay through 1980. This was followed by short stints at UNLV in 1981 and 1982, and a one-year stay in the CFL with the Calgary Stampeders in 1983. After an assistant coaching job at Fresno State, Hill went on to become the offensive coordinator at Arizona from 1990 to 1991.

He then went to coach in the NFL with the Cleveland Browns (under Bill Bellichick) and the Baltimore Ravens where he served as the tight ends and offensive line coach for both teams.

Hill took on the head coaching job at Fresno State in 1997, where he had previously served as the offensive line coach from 1984 to 1989 under coach Jim Sweeney.

When Pat Hill first arrived he took over a team that was for all purposes technically on life support. The Bulldogs had endured some awful seasons at the end of Jim Sweeney's career and looked to be going absolutely no where. Pat Hill stepped in and revived this team sending them to a bowl game seven years in a row starting with the Las Vegas Bowl behind Billy Volek.

Hill brought the idea to the forefront that the Bulldogs should be a national player with respect to college football. Soon the Bulldogs began beating BCS teams and looking to play anyone, anywhere, anytime. Hill led Fresno State to wins over Wisconsin, Oregon State, and Colorado to begin the 2001 season and for the first time in recent memory the Bulldogs had become a household name across the nation.

Throughout his eight years with the Bulldogs, Hill has been outspoken in his willingness to play anyone, anywhere, anytime -- a philosophy that's seen Fresno travel to Oklahoma, Tennessee, Ohio State, Wisconsin, Kansas State and Colorado the past five seasons. And it's not like they do it just for the paycheck: Including bowl games, Fresno is 10-8 against BCS-conference opponents since 2000. 

Hill has an 85-55 record going into the 2008 season. He has a 60-27 record inside the conference and one WAC title coming in 1999. Fresno State has been to eight bowl games since he took over the program.

When asked if he had any sympathy for a UCLA team that had been outscored 90-10 in it's previous two games here is what Hill had to say:

"There is no reason to feel sorry for UCLA," Hill said. "They have very, very good players on their roster. There is not one guy on that roster that would take a [recruiting] visit to Fresno State. We know they've got great players."

Under Hill's leadership, Fresno State has greatly improved the academic performance of its football players. During Hill's tenure the team has produced (as of 2005) 65 Academic All-WAC players, compared to a total of nine in the entire history of the program before Hill's arrival.

Pat Hill is Mr. Special Teams. His guys have blocked more kicks since 2002 (40) than any other team in the nation. The ‘Dogs also are a threat to score in the return game. Since Hill took over, FSU has scored 32 touchdowns on special teams.

Hill has turned down offers in the past from schools like Arizona, Colorado, and Minnesota to name a few. If he leaves Fresno State he wants to take over a program that has the ability to win a national championship. Even though Washington has been down a majority of a decade the Huskies have the tools and support available to make winning a national championship a reality for the right coach.

Is Pat Hill a great football coach? Here is a view on that subject from the Fresno State blog.

While many believe Hill to be a great coach I tend to see things quite differently. Since David Carr left the Bulldogs offense has turned into a predictable run first offense that lacks creativity. Year after year it does not matter who the offensive coordinator is, the Bulldogs run, run, and they run some more.

If the plan doesn't work it does not matter, the Dogs continue to run without hesitating. Pat Hill does not make adjustments to what the offense and defense of the other teams are doing. If the Dogs were to come out in a cover 2 defense with little blitzing that is exactly what they would do the entire game. If the offense was going to come out with a run first mentality then that is what they would do the entire game regardless of the score.

Here is an opposing view from the Fresno State student newspaper.

Pat Hill is the best head coach in college football.

He is not the best just because he’s the coach of my school’s team or because he has a wicked-awesome mustache.

He is the best coach in college football because he does so much more than any BCS coach without the resources and advantages the marquee schools have.

He has the courage to take on any team in college football and has never backed down from a fight in his 12 years with the program.

Hill and his "Anyone, Anywhere, Anytime" philosophy have elevated the Fresno State Bulldogs from a mediocre Western Athletic Conference school to a team regularly ranked in the Top 25.

His teams have been knocking on the door of the BCS even when the porch light isn’t on.

 What do you think?

Is Pat Hill a good fit for Washington?