Fresno State's Pat Hill has interview with UW
The candidacy of Fresno State's Pat Hill for the Washington coaching job may have taken a more serious turn Saturday. A Washington football source...
Seattle Times staff reporter
The candidacy of Fresno State's Pat Hill for the Washington coaching job may have taken a more serious turn Saturday.
A Washington football source told The Times that Hill interviewed with UW officials on Saturday. The Fresno Bee reported on its Fresno State football blog that Hill boarded a flight to Seattle early Saturday morning, and his car was parked in the airport parking lot. The Bee cited two unidentified airport employees.
Another source told The Times the Huskies are expected to interview Cincinnati coach Brian Kelly this week. Kelly led Cincinnati to a 10-2 record and the Big East championship this season.
A University of Washington official said the school would not comment on the search.
Fresno State athletic director Thomas Boeh would neither confirm nor deny that UW had contacted him about talking with Hill. However, he told the Bee that Hill had "earned the right to look at other opportunities" because of his 12 years as coach of the Bulldogs.
There have been indications of strong interest by UW in Hill since Washington began searching for a replacement for Tyrone Willingham in late October.
Hill, 56, is known to be interested in the position, and he also has close ties with Alabama coach Nick Saban, who was hired by UW president Mark Emmert in 1999 to coach at Louisiana State. Emmert and UW athletic director Scott Woodward are known to value the opinion of Saban, who worked alongside Hill as an assistant with the Cleveland Browns from 1992 to 1994.
Finances don't figure to be an issue with Hill, who has a contract through 2010 paying him roughly $1.2 million per season with no buyout penalty, according to the Bee. Willingham made roughly $1.6 million per season.
The Bee reported that Hill is expected to return to Fresno tonight for the team's annual awards banquet.
Fresno State finished the regular season 7-5 after a 61-10 loss at Boise State on Friday. One of the Bulldogs' wins was a 36-31 victory at UCLA.
Hill is 92-60 in 12 seasons at Fresno State. The Bulldogs have won only a share of one Western Athletic Conference title under Hill but have played in eight bowl games and are eligible for one this season.
The only coach confirmed to have interviewed for the job is Notre Dame offensive coordinator Michael Haywood, who was in Seattle two weeks ago.
One source said Washington contacted Texas Tech coach Mike Leach last week, but Leach said he wouldn't talk about any job until after his team had completed its regular season. Tech finished its regular season with a win over Baylor on Saturday.
The Huskies will finish their season Saturday at California, a game that will mark the finale for Willingham. He agreed to coach the final five games after being told he wouldn't be retained.
Woodward has given no strict timeline for a decision but said early- to mid-December was most realistic.
Bob Condotta: 206-515-5699 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company
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