San Jose, Calif. (December 12) -- Fitz Hill, the assistant head football coach at the University of Arkansas, has accepted the football head coaching position at San Jose State University. The announcement was made at a press conference by Chuck Bell, director of athletics at San Jose State University.
The 36-year-old Hill signed a four-year contract to serve as the school's 26th head football coach. His base salary will be $160,000 per year with incentives and performance enhancements similar to those offered to new coaches at the school. The enhancements are attached to win-loss record, participation in post-season bowl games and national recognition. He will be allowed to operate football camps at San Jose State as has been done in the past. From a set salary pool, he will select his assistant coaches and the salaries they will be offered.
Working 11 seasons for the last five University of Arkansas football staffs, Hill coached the wide receivers and defensive backs and served as the recruiting coordinator at the Southeastern Conference member school. Arkansas is headed to its sixth post-season bowl appearance during his tenure - the December 21 Las Vegas Bowl IX against the University of Nevada Las Vegas. The Razorbacks won the 2000 Cotton Bowl over Texas and appeared in the 1999 Florida Citrus Bowl against Michigan, the 1995 Carquest Bowl against North Carolina, the 1991 Independence Bowl against Georgia and the 1990 Cotton Bowl against Tennessee.
The 1987 graduate of Ouchita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, Ark., played one season of football at Northeast Louisiana University and three at his alma mater as a star wide receiver. He was a two-time all-district, all-conference and honorable mention All-America in 1985 and 1986 who signed a free agent contract with the New England Patriots in 1988. Hill earned his master's degree from Northwestern (La.) State in 1991 and his Ed.D., in higher education from the University of Arkansas in 1997.
The native of Arkadelphia, Ark., served in the United States Army for eight months from September 1990 to May 1991 in Saudi Arabia during Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm. Hill was awarded a Bronze Star Medal, a Kuwait Liberation Medal, an Army Reserve Component Achievement Medal and a Southwest Asia Service Medal for his service. He remains an inactive reserve with the rank of lieutenant.
"When I met with Chuck Bell, I felt a family environment and the support a head football coach needs to be successful. And, I saw a tremendous opportunity to succeed. Over the last 30 years, San Jose State has had 16 winning seasons. The talent pool and talent base is such that we can win in the Western Athletic Conference," said Hill.
"I'm excited about the challenge. Challenges motivate me. I'm excited about working with young men helping them reach their goals on and off the field and to be a role model for them when needed. The bottom line is winning and graduating and having fun in the process."
"Fitz Hill is an exceptional catch for San Jose State University as its new football coach. Before meeting with him for the first time just a week ago, he came highly recommended from a number of successful football people. As Arkansas' recruiting coordinator, he was an integral contributor in the resurgence of their football program. He has recruited California junior college prospects and is thoroughly familiar with the strengths of the California community college system," Bell said of Hill, whose mother, Mary, a retired public school administrator, resides in Berkeley, Calif. "This is an exceptional opportunity for a very special young man and his family."
Hill began his coaching career in 1987 as an assistant coach at Arkadelphia (Ark.) High School. He was a graduate assistant coach at Northwestern (La.) State University during the 1988 season and at Arkansas in 1989. Hill served as a volunteer coach at Arkansas in the 1990 and 1991 seasons. He was the receivers coach at Utah State University from January through March 1992 before returning to Arkansas for the 1992 season as the defensive backs coach. Hill coached the wide receivers the last eight seasons and was recruiting coordinator beginning in 1998.
"We are very proud of him. We are going to miss him. He has done a great job for the University of Arkansas," said University of Arkansas head football coach Houston Nutt. "Because of these players and this program, he is able to take a head (coaching) job. He has been here the longest of any of our assistants and has done a great job.
"We talked earlier last week about that job. That was his goal. He didn't think it would happen this quick. He had in mind he would be here for two more years. They pursued him pretty hard and offered him a good package and he was ready to go."
A member of the American Football Coaches Association and the Black Coaches Association, he participated in the National Football League's Minority Fellowship program with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1993 and the Dallas Cowboys in 1999.
He and his wife, Cynthia, have two daughters, Destiny Jade (8) and Faith (4), and a son, Justice, seven months old. Mrs. Hill, a research assistant in adult education at the University of Arkansas will earn her doctoral degree in human resource management from the school in 2001.
Hill replaces Dave Baldwin, who posted an 18-27 win-loss record during the 1997 through 2000 seasons and did not accept the university's offer of a new contract. Hill is the third youngest coach to direct the Spartan football program. Bob Bronzan was named the school's head coach at age 31 and coached San Jose State from 1950 through 1956. Lynn Stiles was 35 when he began his three seasons with the Spartans in 1976.
FITZ HILL'S COACHING HISTORY
|1987||Arkadelphia (Ark.)||H.S. Assistant coach|
|1988||Northwestern (La.) State||Graduate assistant||9-2||I-AA semifinalist|
|1989||Arkansas||Graduate assistant||10-2||Cotton Bowl|
|1990||Northwestern (La.) State||Quarterbacks/
receivers coach in springpractice
|1991||Arkansas||Volunteer assistant||6-6||Independence Bowl|
|1992||Utah State||Wide receivers coach in spring practice|
|1992||Arkansas||Wide receivers coach||3-7-1|
|1993||Arkansas||Wide receivers coach||6-4-1|
|1994||Arkansas||Wide receivers coach||4-7|
|1995||Arkansas||Wide receivers coach||8-5||CarQuest Bowl|
|SEC West champion|
|1996||Arkansas||Wide receivers coach||4-7|
|1997||Arkansas||Wide receivers coach||4-7|
|1998||Arkansas||Recruiting coordinator/||9-3||Florida Citrus Bowl|
|wide receivers coach||SEC West champion|
|1999||Arkansas||Recruiting coordinator/||8-4||Cotton Bowl winner|
|wide receivers coach|
|2000||Arkansas||Assistant head coach/||6-5||Las VegasBowl IX|
|wide receivers coach|