Pat Hill Says "Goodbye Fresno" in Farewell Address Print
News - Sports
Written by B|V|N Newsroom   
Tuesday, 06 December 2011 00:58
Fresno State - Anyone, anywhere, anytime, just no longer at Fresno State for Coach Pat Hill. The man who put Bulldog football on the National map was fired Sunday by the school’s administration following a losing 4-9 season, the worse in Fresno State history. Monday Hill met with the media for a 15 minute emotional talk on his fifteen year tenure as Fresno State’s head football coach.

Hill took his seat at the podium in a green shirt and black jacket. The only red was in Hill’s eyes and a couple wounds on his right hand. He told the media he would not answer any questions or give any interviews. He has always answered the media’s questions but for today's press conference, when he was done he was done.

 


 

The coach laid out the three promises he issued at a press conference when he was hired in 1997.

  1. Change the academic culture of the football program. In 1997 the graduations rates for scholarships were 22%. In the last two years of Pat Hill football the rates were 85 and 89%.
  2. Paint the Valley Red. To Hill it was important for Fresno State to be the light of the valley. With over 70 to 80 national television appearances this valley and the agriculture in the valley has gotten a lot of recognition because of Pat Hill. Outside of Fresno, people now know Fresno State Football.
  3. Bring big time football to Fresno State. During Hill’s tenure the Bulldogs have played in some of the greatest venues in the country against some of the best teams in the country and competed at a very high level. The way to move up as a Division 1A football team is to play the best and that is what Pat Hill did.

 

Fresno State Athletic Director Thomas Boeh said Sunday that Hill’s firing was because of a downward trend in the teams wins and loses over the last six to seven seasons. However Hill pointed out that not counting this season, since 2000 only 23 schools have more wins than FSU. Putting them in the top 20% of the 120 Division 1A college football teams in the United States.

Hill thanked his supporters, staff and players. He became very emotional when he talked of his players. With a crack in his voice Hill said, “The players that wore that red helmet, next to my family, meant more to me than anything. The guys that wore that red helmet wore it with great pride, played against enormous odds, and for the most part represented themselves at a very high level no matter who we played, where we played, when we played or how we got there. We always showed up for the fight.”

Hill hopes this community, media, administration and players will back who ever the university selects as the new head coach and hopes that this school will be a better place for his players who he says are the only ones he really cares about. Of his coaches Hill said, “We’ve lost some coaches and never replaced them. Hopefully we can start replacing them now and give this new coach everything he needs to be successful.”

“I do not know what my future holds. I do know I will be a grandfather in July and that is all that really matters right now. I have a great passion for the game of football. I will remain in the game but I don’t know in what capacity. I am not in any rush right now. My batteries have already been recharged, it didn’t take long. I feel a lot better today than I have in along time. So I feel very good about where I am in life. I feel I gave it my best shot for 15 years. It wasn’t good enough and I hope that the next man can come in and take you all where you want to go. Don’t lose sight of the expectation that this program has. The next level to me is winning championships and going to BCS games and being a top 25 ranked team.”

Coach Hill took responsibly for not finishing the job he set out to do for Fresno State 15 years ago. He feels this current team is in a great position to make a run at a championship and he wished he would have had the opportunity to continue to coach them but was sure they would get great leadership and they would be successful in the future.

With that he said “Goodbye Fresno” and walked out of the room without taking any questions. And that was the end the Pat Hill era at Fresno State.


Watch the complete press conference: