With great vision, an unparalleled work ethic, and passion for the Valley, Pat Hill's stamp on the Fresno State football program is undeniable. After 13 years, the Bulldog program is nationally recognized for its success in all areas: wins and bowl games appearances, academic achievement, and character of the young men who've come through the program.
Under Hill, the progra
m has received national attention and is recognized as a premier program. He is recognized as an elite coach, having been selected to coach in college all-star games twice in the last five years. The success stories are many, but what's most impressive is the consistent and unwavering commitment to the principles he established over a decade ago. The Dogs continue to play a rigorous non-conference schedule, play a tough "hard nosed" brand of football on the field, recruit Valley high school players, and set an "Academic Gameplan" that sees student-athletes through to graduation.
Hill's program has grown accustomed of being in the national spotlight. Never was it brighter than in 2001, when Hill guided the program to unprecedented heights - 11 wins, a bowl invitation, a top 10 ranking, wins over Wisconsin, Colorado and Oregon State, another record-setting attendance mark and a Sports Illustrated cover story. With nearly 70 national television appearances this decade, college football fans from around the country know about the Bulldog program.
Despite these lofty achievements, Hill is still adamant this is just an indication of greater things to come. His motto of "Building a New Tradition on a National Level" is stronger now than ever, especially after winning 15 games against BCS teams since 2000 - the highest of any non-BCS teams in the country. Among those victories are four recent bowl wins against Georgia Tech (twice), UCLA and No. 18 Virginia.
Hill has also taken the Bulldogs to new heights in the Western Athletic Conference. His overall league record of 73-30 is one of the best in the WAC as he is the dean of WAC football coaches.
The 58-year-old Hill was the Bulldogs' recruiting coordinator from 1984-89, a six-year period in which Fresno State was 53-16-1, averaged nearly nine wins per season, captured three league titles and won three bowl games. During that six-year stint as the recruiting coordinator and line coach under former head coach Jim Sweeney, Hill contributed at a championship level. In addition to the conference crowns and bowl victories, the Bulldogs saw 14 players drafted by NFL teams, including the likes of J.D. Williams, Ron Cox, Michael Stewart and Aaron Craver. Fresno State's 1985 team was the only unbeaten Division I-A squad in the country, finishing the season 16th in the polls. Hill's offensive line also provided the pass protection and run blocking for an offensive unit that averaged 32 points per game over those six seasons, including a nation-leading 41 points per game in '85.
Success continued for Hill when he moved on to the University of Arizona as Dick Tomey's offensive coordinator and offensive line coach in 1990 and '91. In just his first season, the Wildcats went 7-5 and played in the Aloha Bowl. Both seasons, the 'Cats finished in the top five of the Pac-10 in rushing offense, averaging nearly 200 yards per game on the ground. Four players earned first-team All-Pac-10 honors in his two seasons, and offensive lineman John Fina was a first round NFL draft choice.
When he left Arizona, he did so to realize another career goal -- coaching in the National Football League. Hill joined the Cleveland Browns in 1992 and spent five seasons in the organization, coaching tight ends and offensive line in addition to working in the personnel department evaluating players. While there, he formed a life-lasting friendship with Bill Belichick, whom Hill credits for teaching him with a structure that has proven successful. Hill would have been happy to remain in the NFL had the Fresno State job not opened a possibility for him.
Hill began his coaching career as offensive line coach at Los Angeles Valley College from 1974-76, helping the Monarchs to a state junior college championship in 1975. He then served as offensive line coach at Utah from 1977-80 under Wayne Howard; was offensive line coach and offensive coordinator at UNLV from 1981-82 under Tony Knapp; and was offensive coordinator with the Calgary Stampeders of the CFL in 1983 under Jack Gotta.
The list of players recruited and signed by Hill at the collegiate level is impressive. Under his leadership, such greats as David Carr, Ryan Mathews, Richard Marshall, Logan Mankins, James Sanders, Alan Harper, Rodney Wright, Randall Cunningham, Tracy Rogers, Ron Cox, Aaron Craver, Marquez Pope, Lorenzo Neal, Jethro Franklin, Tony Brown, J.D. Williams, Mike Withycombe, Michael Stewart, John Fina and Tedy Bruschi all were inked to letters of intent.
A 1973 graduate of UC Riverside, Hill was a three-time all-conference center, earning All-America honors as a senior. He was inducted into the UC Riverside Hall of Fame in 1989. It was at UC Riverside where he crossed paths with Ron McBride, then a UCR assistant and formerly the Utah head coach, who helped steer Hill into a football coaching career.
Hill is been retained by Fresno State through the 2013 season.
Hill and his wife, Cathy, have three children. Their eldest, Michael, is a recent graduate of Fresno State. Zak is a junior safety on the Bulldog squad and Matt, who played at Cal Poly until a career-ending injury, is a college student in southern California. Hill was born Dec. 17, 1951, in Los Angeles.
The Pat Hill File
1997-present Fresno State
1996 Baltimore Ravens (NFL)
Asst. coach (tight ends/offensive line)
1992-95 Cleveland Browns (NFL)
Asst. coach (tight ends/offensive line)
1990-91 Arizona Wildcats (NCAA)
Asst. coach (offensive line/offensive coordinator)
1984-89 Fresno State Bulldogs (NCAA)
Asst. coach (offensive line/recruiting coordinator)
1983 Calgary Stampeders (CFL)
Asst. coach (offensive coord./running backs/offensive line)
1981-82 UNLV Rebels (NCAA)
Asst. coach (offensive, recruiting coordinator/offensive line)
1977-80 Utah Utes (NCAA)
Recruiting coordinator/offensive line
1974-76 LA Valley College (JC)
Offensive line coach
FS's First non-losing season since 1993
Bulldogs win four of last five games
WAC title; EA Sports Las Vegas Bowl berth
Silicon Valley Football Classic berth
Silicon Valley Football Classic berth; No. 8 national ranking
Defeated Georgia Tech in Silicon Valley Football Classic
Defeated Georgia UCLA in Silicon Valley Football Classic
Defeated Virginia in MPC Computers Bowl
AutoZone Liberty bowl berth; No. 16 national ranking
Six nationally televised games
Defeated Georgia Tech in the Roady's Humanitarian Bowl
Participatd in the New Mexico Bowl
Participatd in the New Mexico Bowl
10 bowl invites; one WAC title; 56-16 home record
Hill Among WAC's Finest
As Pat Hill enters his 14th season at Fresno State, here's a look at what he's accomplished and how it compares to other WAC coaching legends.
1. LaVell Edwards, BYU (1972-98) 243
2. Frank Kush, Arizona State (1962-77) 133
3. Fisher DeBerry, Air Force (1984-98) 120 4. Pat Hill, Fresno State (1997-p) 100
Most Bowl Games
1. LaVell Edwards, BYU (1972-98) 21 2. Pat Hill, Fresno State (1997-pr) 10
2. Fisher DeBerry, Air Force (1984-98) 10
4. Frank Kush, Arizona State (1962-77) 6
Hill kept his promise when he was hired to shore up the team's academic woes. One of the first projects he brought to the table is well underway with positive results coming in droves. Academic Gameplan, the brainchild of John Baxter, Hill's associate head coach, was touted early in the building stages in the program, not as a quick fix-all to placate university professors, but instead to make sure academics are first priority. He has accomplished much in a short time. The team GPA has risen from a 2.21 to a 2.87. He produced the first Academic All-American in the program's history in 1999, senior cornerback Payton Williams. In 12 years, the program has produced 123 Academic All-WAC selections, most in the conference during that time. Prior to Hill's arrival, Fresno State had produced a total of nine Academic All-WAC selections. In four of the last five years, Fresno State has led the WAC in Academic All-WAC selections, producing an all-time high of 18 in 2009.
NCAA APR of 946 ranked fourth-best among Division 1A public schools in the west
A total of 141 Academic All-WAC Selections (most in the WAC)
Fresno State has produced 122 Academic All-WAC selections this decade, the only school in league history with more than 100 in any decade.
Three Academic All-Americans: Andrew Jackson, first team in 2009; Robert Malone, second team in 2009; Payton Williams, second teatm in 1999. They are the only players in school history ever honored.
Vernon Fox (2001) and Moses Harris (2009) received National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame postgraduate scholarship Awards, giving Fresno State more award winners this decade than the four Pac-10 California schools (Cal, Standford, UCLA, USC) have combined.
Lineman Kevin Cooper was selected the 2006 President's Medal Winner as the top graduating senior at Fresno State.
Kicker Clint Stitser was selected the 2007 Dean's Medal Winner from the Craig School of Business as the top graduating senior, was a semifinalist for the Draddy Award (Academic Heisman) and a finalist for the Wuerffel Trophy, which honors athletic, academic and community service.
Anybody, Anytime, Anywhere
Hill's accomplishments are remarkable, considering the rigorous non-conference schedule Fresno State has played since his arrival. In the last eight years, Fresno State has played 38 bowl opponents, including 18 the past three seasons. Of the team's 28 losses since 2002, 24 were to teams which played in a bowl game or were nationally ranked. But more important are the victories. Since 2000, the Bulldogs have defeated 14 BCS Conference opponents - California in 2000 and Colorado, Wisconsin and Oregon State (2001 and 2003), Georgia Tech (2002 and 2007), UCLA (2003 and 2008), Washington, Kansas State and Virginia in 2004, Kansas State and Rutgers in 2008 and Illinois this season. In the case of the Buffaloes, Huskies, Wildcats and Badgers, Fresno State defeated them on the road. As for the victories over the Yellow Jackets, Bruins and Cavaliers, those wins came in bowl games. Fresno State's 15 wins over BCS schools in the last seven years ranks is tied with Utah for most of any non-BCS school. The Bulldogs are also the only non-BCS school to own three consecutive bowl victories over BCS schools. "We could win a lot of games if we schedule ourselves that way," Hill says. "Our program has to play the best and beat the best to be considered the best. That's how we are building our entire program, to reach that level of respect and success."
Building and Growing
Hill talks of adding seats to Bulldog Stadium and continuing to take on the toughest non-conference teams in the nation. By looking at what he has accomplished in this decade, one has to believe he can achieve anything. Under Hill's guidance, the Duncan Building training room has been tripled in size with additional taping stations, rehabilitation pools and a private doctor's office. Also constructed were two lighted practice fields and an adjacent weight room, which provides the Bulldogs with a facility that rivals any NFL training facility. A tireless worker, Hill has been a productive fundraiser. He has spearheaded capital projects on campus, including the new Ricchiutti Academic Center, which benefits all student-athletes at Fresno State, and the Duncan Building expansion, which includes a new football locker room, coaching offices, team meeting rooms and an auditorium style theater. Hill has championed the Green V Society, a new fundraising level in the Bulldog Foundation designed to generate funds for the athletics department.
Taking it to Another Level
When Hill was hired, he promised to win games and championships. He has done that. After taking over a program that hadn't won more than five games the three previous seasons, Hill won six games his first season and won a share of the WAC Championship and received a berth in the EA Sports Las Vegas Bowl in year three. He has done this while playing some of the top programs in the nation. With perennial bowl teams UCLA, Colorado, Wisconsin, No. 1 Oklahoma, Tennessee, Ohio State, No. 1 USC, No. 3 LSU, Kansas State, Oregon, Oregon State, Washington and Colorado State, the Bulldogs have played as tough a schedule as anyone. Fresno State has played the most BCS opponents of any non-BCS school since the 2001.
Set a school record with seven consecutive bowl appearances, including victories over Georgia Tech, UCLA and Virginia.
A No. 8 national ranking in 2001, the highest ever by a Fresno State team and at the time, the highest by a non-BCS school.
A year-end national ranking of No. 22 in 2004, the first time Fresno State ended the season in the national polls since 1993
School-record 11 wins in 2001
15 wins over BCS schools since 2001, second-most of any non-BCS school
10 bowl appearances in the last 11 seasons.
Produced at least one All-American in eight of the last 11ears
Produced 24 NFL draft picks
Year-by-Year With Pat Hill 1997 (6-6, 5-3 WAC)
Guided the Bulldogs to a 6-6 record after a 2-4 start to the season, the first non-losing season in four years.
Fresno State gained attention for an impressive 20-17 win at No. 17 Air Force.
The Bulldogs capped the year with a commanding 24-7 victory over Wyoming in the season finale, knocking the Cowboys out of bowl consideration.
Three first-team All-WAC selections (Chris Conrad, Michael Pittman and A.J. Gass) all went on to professional football careers.
Had a then-Fresno State record five Academic All-WAC selections.
1998 (5-6, 5-3 WAC)
Running back Jamie Kimbrough was selected the WAC Offensive Player of the Year.
Set another school record for Academic All-WAC selections with six.
Produced four first-team All-WAC players (Kimbrough, Tim Skipper, Ken Foersch, Jeff Roberts).
1999 (8-5, 6-2 WAC)
Had a dominating 44-13 win over Mountain West Conference champion Colorado State.
Beat rival San Jose State 63-12 to earn a bowl berth in the Las Vegas Bowl.
Finished the season strong, winning four of its final five games, with the lone loss a 31-24 double-overtime heartbreaker at Hawaii.
Lost to Utah 17-16 in the EA Sports Las Vegas Bowl, their first bowl appearance since 1993.
Quarterback Billy Volek was named the WAC Offensive Player of the Year after throwing for more than 2,700 yards, 30 touchdowns and just three interceptions.
Six Bulldogs (Rodney Wright, Billy Volek, Jeff Hanna, Alan Harper, Orlando Huff, Anthony Limbrick) were named first-team All-WAC, the most players selected in a single season in school history.
Produced nine Academic All-WAC selections, second-most in the WAC, and most at the time in Fresno State history.
Payton Williams became the first Bulldog football player to be named Academic All-American.
2000 (7-5, 6-2 WAC)
Each loss in 2000 was to a team that participated in a bowl game.
Started the season with road losses at nationally-ranked opponents Ohio State and UCLA.
Shattered their single-game home attendance record on Sept. 23 as they defeated Cal 17-3 in front of 42,265 fans and a national television audience on Fox Sports Net.
The Bulldogs finished the season strong, winning four of their final five games, including a lopsided 37-6 win at San Jose State to earn a second consecutive bowl berth.
Despite facing a 34-point deficit in the third quarter to Air Force, the Bulldogs did not back down, rallying to within striking distance when Hill made the gutsy call for a fake field goal.
Hill was selected the 2000 Bowl Coach of the Year by Sports Illustrated, which wrote: "Fresno State's Pat Hill kept his players focused after they fell behind Air Force 34-7 in the Silicon Valley Bowl, and when the Bulldogs pulled to within 37-34 he disdained a 33-yard field goal attempt with 14 seconds to go and called for a fake kick. The ensuing pass fell incomplete, but what kid wouldn't want to play for a coach like that?"
Produced three first-team All-WAC selections (Alan Harper, Vernon Fox and Orlando Huff).
Had nine Academic All-WAC selections, tied for the most in school history.
Made six national TV appearances.
Orlando Huff was selected in the fourth round (104th selection) of the NFL Draft by the Seattle Seahawks.
2001 (11-3, 6-2 WAC)
Defeated three BCS nationally-ranked schools, Colorado, Oregon State and Wisconsin to start the season. The wins over Colorado and Wisconsin both came on the road.
Defeated Oregon State, the No. 1 ranked team by Sports Illustrated and the highest-ranked team ever to play in Fresno, by a resounding score of 44-24.
Raced to a No. 8 ranking in the nation.
Graced the cover of Sports Illustrated (Sept. 17, 2001).
Achieved the highest national ranking ever for a California State University school and WAC school since 1996.
Went to a third straight bowl game, longest streak in school history, losing to Michigan State in the 2001 Silicon Valley Football Classic.
Made seven national television appearances.
Had nine Academic All-WAC selections, most in the WAC.
Produced a school-record nine All-WAC selections. (Bernard Berrian, Mike Stovall, David Carr, Asen Aspruhov, Jason Simpson, Alan Harper, Nick Burley, Vernon Fox).
David Carr (offensive) and Alan Harper (defense) were named WAC Players of the Year.
David Carr won the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm award as the nation's top senior quarterback and was selected the nation's offensive player of the year by the College Football News.
Carr was the No. 1 player selected in the 2002 NFL draft by the expansion Houston Texans.
Four Bulldogs were selected in the NFL Draft.
Vernon Fox was selected for a National Football Foundation and College Football Hall of Fame Scholarship, the first winner in school history.
2002 (9-5, 6-2 WAC)
Three of the five losses were on the road at BCS schools (Wisconsin, Oregon and Oregon State).
The Bulldogs won eight of their last 10 games, including a 32-30 win over nationally-ranked Colorado State.
Soundly defeated Georgia Tech 30-21 in the Silicon Valley Football Classic, the first bowl win in a decade.
Five players were selected first-team All-WAC.
Produced a league-best 12 Academic All-WAC selections, most in school history.
Made nine national TV appearances.
Hill was selected as the head coach of the West team for the East-West Shrine All-Star Classic.
2003 (9-5, 6-2 WAC)
Fresno State's pre-WAC schedule was again rigorous, with games at No. 12 Tennessee and No. 1 Oklahoma.
Upset Oregon State on ESPN, the second win in three games over the Beavers.
With six wins in their final seven games, Fresno State continued a trend of being a championship caliber team deep into the season.
Defeated UCLA 17-9 in their fifth consecutive bowl appearance, the longest streak in school history.
Fresno State's win over UCLA marked the first win over the Bruins in the seven games in the series, and again placed the Bulldogs among the nation's elite programs.
Went 2-0 vs. Pac-10 teams during the year.
Made four national TV appearances.
Produced three All-WAC selections.
Produced eight Academic All-WAC selections.
Bernard Berrian selected in the third round of the NFL Draft by the Chicago Bears.
2004 (9-3, 5-3 WAC)
Defeated 18th-ranked Virginia in the MPC Computers Bowl, the team's third bowl win in a row.
Finished the year ranked 22nd in the nation, the first time Fresno State ended the season in the polls since 1993.
Fresno State opened the season with road wins at Washington (35-16) and No. 13 Kansas State 45-21
Fresno State's win at Kansas State was most the worst defeat by the Wildcats at home in the Bill Snyder era.
The Bulldogs rose to No. 17 in the national polls.
Fresno State finished the season winning six straight games by a scoring average of 52-19.
The Bulldogs scored more than 50 points in each of their final four regular season games, becoming the sixth school in NCAA history to accomplish that feat.
Fresno State averaged 40.2 points per game, the fifth-highest total in the nation.
Went 3-0 vs. BCS teams during the year.
Made five national TV appearances.
Produced three first-team All-WAC selections.
A total of 20 Bulldogs were honored by WAC coaches in All-WAC voting.
Senior tackle Logan Mankins was selected to the Walter Camp second-team All-America football team.
Mankins was selected in the first round of the 2005 NFL Draft by the Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots.
2005 (8-5, 6-2 WAC)
Earned a school-record seventh consecutive bowl invitation (AutoZone Liberty Bowl).
Ranked No. 23 in the national pre-season polls
Reached No. 16 in the AP and USA Today Coaches Poll
Took No. 1 USC to the wire in a thrilling 50-42 game at the historic Los Angeles Coliseum
The 42 points vs. USC were the most scored on the Trojans at the Coliseum since 1976 and the most scored against a Pete Carroll coached team.
Fresno State's offense has been ranked in the nation's top five for scoring offense at better than 40 points per game.
Two of the Dogs' losses were to teams ranked in the BCS top 8.
Defeated defending MAC Champion Toledo 44-14.
Defeated defending WAC Champion Boise State 27-7.
Won at Hawaii 27-13 for just the second win there since 1965.
Bulldog defense was ranked as high as No. 8 in the nation in scoring (14.8 ppg).
Three 'Dogs were selected in the NFL Draft, led by Richard Marshall in the second round to Carolina.
2006 (4-8, 4-4 WAC)
Opened the season with a nationally televised win over WAC rival Nevada
Had six games nationally televised
Produced 14 Academic All-WAC selections
Two of the Dogs' losses were to teams that finished ranked in the Top 5 in the nation (LSU and Boise State).
Running back Dwayne Wright finished No. 6 in the NCAA in rushing.
Fresno State set a school record for fewest quarterback sacks in a season with 12.
Four 'Dogs were selected in the NFL Draft (Marcus McCauley, Paul Williams, Dwayne Wright and Chris Denman).
Three others (Joe Fernandez, Roshon Vercher and Louis Leonard) signed NFL free agents contracts.
Graduated 15 of 17 seniors.
Played five ranked teams, including two teams that finished the season ranked in the Top 5 (No. 3 LSU and No. 5 Boise State).
Hill was selected head coach of the Aina (West) team in the Hula Bowl.
Senior lineman Kevin Cooper was selected with the winner of the President's Medal as the top graduate at Fresno State
2007 (9-4, 6-2 WAC)
Fresno State made its 8th bowl appearance in the last nine years and won its fourth bowl game in the last five tries
Senior linebacker Marcus Riley was named the WAC Defensive Player of the Year, the third Bulldog honored in the last seven seasons
Bulldog A.J. Jefferson led the NCAA in kickoff return average
Fresno State had five games nationally televised in 2007
Fresno State's +5 win total over the 2006 season matched the best improvement of a team in the Hill era.
Four losses were to teams that reach high national rankings (No.2 Oregon, No. 10 Hawaii, No. 15 Boise State, No. 19 Texas A&M)
Ryan Mathews ran for 14 touchdowns, the most in the nation by a freshman running back
Senior Clint Stitser won the Dean's Medal for the Craig School of Business, was a semifinalist for the Draddy Award and a finalist for the Wuerffel Trophy
Received 11 votes for 30th place in the final USA Today Coaches Poll, the second highest ranked team in California behind No. 2 USC.
2008 (7-6, 4-4 WAC)
Started the season ranked No. 24 in the national polls and reached as high as No. 21
Earned wins over BCS conference foes Rutgers and UCLA
Suffered a three-points loss to then No. 10 Wisconsin 13-10
Made eight national television appearances
Six Bulldogs were picked either first or second team All-Western Athletic Conference
Bear Pascoe (San Francisco 49ers) and Tom Brandstater (Denver Broncos) were draft in the 2009 NFL draft.
2009 (8-5, 6-2 WAC)
The combined record of the teams that beat Fresno State is 41-7, with two of those teams playing in a BCS bowl game
Earned win at Illinois, 15th win over a BCS opponent this decade
Produced an NCAA-best five Academic All-District Players, and two Academic All-Americans, second only to Penn State for most in the nation
Moses Harris was selected a finalist for National Football Foundation Scholar-Athlete Award
Ryan Mathews and Kevin Goessling named All-Americans. Mathews led the NCAA in rushing
Made nine national television appearances
10 Bulldogs were picked either first or second team All-Western Athletic Conference
A school-record 18 Bulldogs were named Academic All-WAC
Ryan Mathews was a first round NFL pick (No. 12 overall) by the San Diego Chargers