Former Fresno State coach Pat Hill delivered a passionate final speech Monday, a day after he was fired after 15 seasons as head coach of the Bulldogs.
Hill declined to take questions during a news conference on the Fresno campus, and instead read prepared remarks about what he accomplished there, and what he felt was left to do. He noted the rise in the graduation rates, and made no apologies for his "anytime, anywhere" mantra, though Fresno State had a tougher time as the seasons wore on winning those big games.
"We’ve competed at a very high level," Hill said. "We brought some big-time opponents to Fresno. We’ve won some big games on the road. And that’s what people really look at, believe it or not. I feel for some schools that don’t play that kind of schedule, that lose one game and get sent to the Las Vegas Bowl or something like that. But the way to make a move if you’re a Division I football program is to play the best. We entered the ring, we gave it our best shot. Didn’t finish it, but I would have much rather had the fight than never fought about it and just talked about it, so hopefully big time football will remain. And even though everybody said there was a down trend in our wins and losses, I just want to say, not counting this year, since 2000 only 23 schools in this country have more wins than your Bulldogs."
As for his future and the future of the Fresno State program, Hill closed with this:
"I have a great passion for the game of football, I will remain in the game, I don’t know what capacity. I’m 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 for a long time, so I feel very good about where I am in life. I feel that I gave it my best shot for 15 years. It wasn’t good enough and I hope that the next man who comes in can take you all where you want to go. Don’t lose sight of the expectations that this program has. The next level to me is winning championships, going to BCS games and beating top 25 ranked teams. We made our runs. We made some runs. We had two losing seasons in the last 13 years, so we made some runs, we didn’t finish the job. I’ll take complete responsibility for that. I only hope that this team next year can fulfill the dreams of all of you. So as I say goodbye, I thank you for everything. I think the Fresno State football program is in great position right now to make a run. I would have liked to have coached this group of young men, but they will get great leadership, they will do a great job and please give them all your support. Thank you for everything you gave me. It has been great."