Pat Hill says goodbye after being fired by Fresno State
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- After 15 years as the head coach at Fresno State, Pat Hill said goodbye Monday.
Fresno State athletics director Thomas Boeh announced Sunday Hill would not return to coach Fresno State next season.
In an exclusive Action News poll conducted by SurveyUSA, we asked people how they would rate the job Pat Hill has done over the past 15 years. And Valley fans overwhelmingly approve with 73 percent rating him excellent or good. But fans are split when it comes to the school's decision to fire Hill. 44 percent agreed, while the same percentage disagreed.
During his final press conference at Fresno State, former head football coach, Pat Hill thanked fans and staff for their support. But, when it came to his players, he broke down saying, "The players who wore that red helmet next to my family meant more to me than anything."
Hill's dedication to their success was clear during his fifteen year tenure. Despite his struggles, he's credited for raising the team's graduation rate by more than sixty percent.
"Coach Hill really taught me that education was very important."
Cory Hall played under Hill at Fresno State for two years. He went on to spend seven years in the NFL, and now coaches Clovis North's varsity squad. The team will compete in the Valley championship game this Friday. Without Hill, Hall says, he wouldn't be where he is today.
Cory Hall said, "I was actually going to coach with Pat Hill over at Fresno State, and ask for coaching position and they didn't have one at the time, so he directed me over here to Coach Simons."
Fresno State officials have also acknowledged Hill's legacy. In a statement to Action News, university president, Dr. John Welty said, "Coach Hill certainly made a major difference in the athletics program at Fresno State and his emphasis on academics has positively impacted our student-athletes for life. We deeply appreciate his efforts to take the football program to a new level of achievement on the national stage."
As for Hill, his final message to fans: show the new coach and the team support, something he sometimes went without.
"Please give them all your support," said Hill. "Thank you for everything you gave me. It's been great. Goodbye Fresno."
pat hill, fresno state bulldogs, fresno state football, fresno state, sports, jason oliveira
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