The Boise State football program is in the process of hiring Zak Hill as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, a source told the Idaho Statesman on Wednesday morning.
Hill, 36, was hired last month as offensive coordinator at Hawaii. He spent nine years at Eastern Washington before that — two as a student assistant (2004-05) and seven as quarterbacks coach and passing game coordinator (2009-15). He was a high school coach for three years in between.
Eastern Washington coach Beau Baldwin called Hill “the biggest factor in the recruiting and development of not just good quarterbacks, but All-American quarterbacks” for the Eagles, according to The Spokesman-Review.
"He's worked incredibly hard and meant so much to Eastern," Baldwin said in the press release announcing Hill’s departure. "He's helped us build our program and our offense, and specifically our passing game. He's been a major factor in Eastern producing All-America quarterbacks and taking our offense to a level where year-in and year-out we are among the top teams in the nation in passing offense."
At Eastern Washington, Hill worked with Boise State wide receivers coach Junior Adams. They are the only two coaches to leave that staff in about a five-year period.
Hill replaces Eliah Drinkwitz, who left for North Carolina State after one season as coordinator and one season as tight ends coach.
Coach Bryan Harsin, who will have his fourth coordinator in four years as a head coach, could take a more active role in the offense. He called plays for about half the season at Arkansas State in 2013 while his young tandem of Drinkwitz and Bush Hamdan settled into the co-coordinator role.
From my Harsin profile in 2014:
The Red Wolves lost four of their first seven games, losing to national runner-up Auburn, a top-5 Missouri team and Louisiana. They also were blown out by Memphis.
Harsin took control of the play calling from his young co-coordinators — Eliah Drinkwitz, the new tight ends coach at Boise State, and Bush Hamdan, a former Boise State quarterback — early in the season to show them how he wanted the offense run. He handed it back to Drinkwitz for the second half of the season and the Red Wolves rolled to five wins in their last six games.
“(Harsin) taking over the play calling … really got us back on track,’ quarterback Adam Kennedy said.
Hill played quarterback at Central Washingnton from 1999 to 2003. He broke more than 20 league records while throwing for 8,882 yards in his career. He led CWU to an 11-1 record in 2002 and was named a third-team All-American. He was inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame in 2013. His position coach was Beau Baldwin, who was his boss as the head coach at Eastern Washington.
His three-year high school coaching career was at Hillsboro (Ore.) High. He was the offensive coordinator in 2006-07 and the head coach in 2008.
At Eastern, Hill coached quarterback Vernon Adams Jr., who was twice a Payton Award (best FCS player) runner-up before transferring to Oregon for his senior year. Other star QBs included Bo Levi Mitchell (conference offensive player of the year), who has won a Grey Cup in the CFL, and Matt Nichols, who was a conference offensive player of the year. Eastern Washington led FCS with 353.3 passing yards per game last season.
“I’ve heard Zak’s name for a long time and I got the chance to see him work with quarterbacks at various camps,” Hawaii coach Nick Rolovich said when announcing Hill’s hiring on Dec. 10. “I’ve enjoyed how he’s dealt with the kids. He’s a well-respected offensive mind and has been with a program that’s been consistently successful for many years. I believe who he is as a person will fit perfectly with the local culture.”