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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

EWU QB coach Zak Hill takes offensive coordinator job at Hawaii

Zak Hill

Eastern Washington assistant Zak Hill has been hired as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at the University of Hawaii, he said Thursday.

“It’s all gone by pretty fast,” said Hill, who was contacted several weeks ago by new Hawaii coach Nick Rolovich. Hill signed a contract on Wednesday and will fly to Honolulu this weekend.

Hill said he met recently with Eastern quarterbacks Jordan West, Reilly Hennessey and Gage Gubrud to tell them of the possibility that he might go to Hawaii.

Eastern coach Beau Baldwin called Hill “the biggest factor in the recruiting and development of not just good quarterbacks , but All-American quarterbacks” at Eastern.

Baldwin said he hasn’t set a timetable for hiring a replacement. “Our focus is 100 percent on recruiting right now,” Baldwin said.

Hill is only the second assistant to leave Baldwin’s staff in almost five years; former wide receivers coach Junior Adams was hired by Boise State following the 2013 season.

In seven years as Eastern’s quarterbacks coach and passing coach, the 36-year-old Hill has worked with some of the top performers in the Football Championship Subdivision, including Vernon Adams, Jr. (2012-14); Bo Levi Mitchell (2010-11), who led the CFL’s Calgary Stampeders to the 2014 Grey Cup; and record-setting quarterback Matt Nichols (2009).

“I’ve heard Zak’s name for a long time and I got the chance to see him work with quarterbacks at various camps,” said Rolovich, the offensive coordinator at Nevada who was named last month to replace the fired Norm Chow.

“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,” Rolovich said of Hill.

Hill said Rolovich was “impressed by the success we’ve had at Eastern … he’s looking for an offense that’s going to throw the ball around.”

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 (233.7 avg.) while completing 60.2 percent of his passes and 76 touchdowns.

He threw for more than 300-yards in 11 games and had at least 200-yards in 24 games. In 2002, Hill led Central 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, working under offensive coordinator Baldwin, his position coach at Central. In two years as a student assistant, Hill worked with quarterback Erik Meyer, who won the 2005 Payton Award.

“It’s really tough to leave Eastern,” Hill said.