Jan. 29, 2016
BOISE, Idaho -- Boise State football head coach Bryan Harsin announced the hiring of Zak Hill as co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, Friday. Additionally, Harsin announced the promotions of offensive line coach Scott Huff to co-offensive coordinator, and wide receivers coach Junior Adams to pass game coordinator.
Huff and Adams will continue to coach their respective position groups.
"Zak's shown a tremendous ability to take young quarterbacks and develop them into not just good players but leaders on the field," Harsin said. "The quarterback play at Eastern Washington over the last several years has been really, really good and the result has been an efficient and explosive offense. While credit goes to a number of people, Zak's name certainly has to be near the top of the list.
"Our focus with the staff is to find the right role and allow our guys to star in that role. Hiring Zak allowed us an opportunity to create a collaborative effort in our offensive staff room. Each coach brings something different to the table and will have input on our plan and execution, with Zak and Coach Huff serving as the co-offensive coordinators. One will focus on the run game, and the other will focus on the pass game with Coach Adams. I have full confidence in both of them and their ability to coordinate and develop our offensive plan.
"While I'm first and foremost the head coach, I really enjoy the offensive aspect of the game. One of the most exciting parts of coaching is being immersed in the game plan and calling the plays. As we move forward right now, I'll be in charge of the play calling for the offense. The nice thing is we have spring ball to work through the details and implement the best working system for our offense to be successful. Ultimately, this is still about a Bronco offense that has been very good for a long period of time. This group of coaches will find new ways to innovate, as that's always been our way at Boise State."
Hill comes to Boise State from Hawai'i, where he was named to the same positions in December 2015. Prior to that, Hill served as passing game coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Eastern Washington for the past seven seasons (2009-15). In Cheney, Hill coached some of the top quarterbacks in the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS), including Walter Payton Award (given to the nation's top FCS player) finalists Vernon Adams, Jr. (2012-14) and Matt Nichols (2009), and 2014 Grey Cup champion and Calgary Stampeders (CFL) quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell (2010-11).
"I couldn't be more excited to be a part of this staff, and really appreciate Coach Harsin for allowing me the opportunity," Hill said. "Boise State is one of those programs nationally that has such a high standard of excellence and a commitment to developing players on and off the field. When you have a chance to be on the staff of the only team in the country to average 40 points a game over the last 16 years, wow, that's something as an offensive coach - a quarterback coach - that gets the blood pumping and provides a daily drive to maintain the standard that has been set."
He helped oversee the offense of an Eastern Washington program that made the FCS playoffs five times over his seven years in Cheney and captured the 2010 FCS national title. The Eagles also reached the FCS semifinals twice more, in 2012 and 2013, and won or shared the Big Sky Conference crown six times.
Eastern Washington topped the FCS rankings in passing offense (353.3 ypg) in 2015, with quarterback Jordan West finishing the year with 3,002 passing yards (300.2 ypg, second in FCS) and 30 touchdown passes (fourth in FCS). The Eagles also scored 34.6 points per game, 18th-best in FCS. The performances reflected Hill's nine-year stint in Cheney (he also served as a student assistant from 2004-05), during which the Eagles passing attack ranked in the top 10 nationally eight times, in total offense six times and four times in scoring offense.
Hill was a record-breaking quarterback at Central Washington from 1999-2003. He broke more than 20 league records and passed for 8,882 career yards and 76 touchdowns while completing 60.2 percent of his passes. In 2002, Hill led Central Washington to an 11-1 record and was named a third-team All-American. He was inducted into the school's Hall of Fame in 2013.
Following his playing career, Hill became a student assistant at EWU from 2004-05, where he worked with 2005 Walter Payton Award winner quarterback Erik Meyer.
Hill then spent three seasons at Hillsboro High School in Oregon, serving as offensive coordinator in 2006-07. He took over as head coach in 2008 and led the school to a 6-5 record and an appearance in the state Class 5A playoffs.
Hill earned his bachelor's in school health education from Central Washington in 2004. He and his wife, Hollie, have one daughter, Valerie Ann.
Scott Huff QUOTE
"Our offensive staff room will be super-charged," Huff said. "Zak's coming in as the newest member, and he brings an impressive knowledge of the quarterback position. Rid (Kent Riddle) will remain our steady hand in working with the tight ends, who are so integral to our offense. Lee (Marks) is now in his second year with the running backs and working closely on our run game, while also helping Rid with special teams. Junior (Adams) and Zak will team together on the passing game, and having coached together previously we feel really good about that combination. Bottom line, led by Coach Harsin, we'll all have a role in dialing up the offensive plan and making sure our guys are in the best position to be successful."
Junior Adams QUOTE
"Zak Hill has a great offensive and quarterback mind," Adams said. "Believe me, I saw it first-hand when I worked with him at Eastern. There is a chemistry that needs to be developed between quarterbacks and receivers for any offense to be successful. The fact Zak and I have worked together before, specifically on the passing game coordination, puts us that much further ahead in what we are trying to accomplish in the offensive staff room."