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Midvale Journal

New Hillcrest football coach brings psychology background to mental part of the game

Aug 29, 2018 11:34AM ● By Jana Klopsch

Coach Ron Hill instructs his team during a practice. (Bob Bedore/City Journals)

By Bob Bedore |  [email protected]

“Outside of spending time with my family, there is no place I’d rather be than on a football field.” 

So says Hillcrest’s new Head Football Coach Ron Hill. The more time you spend with him, the more you want to put on some pads and take to the field with him. His passion for football is contagious. 

“I’ve been playing football for as long as I can remember,” Hill said. “I grew up in a time without video games and 200 channels. We just played sports, and I always loved playing football.”

Hill went into the military, and we he got out, he ran into a friend who asked for his help teaching little league. “Before I knew it, I was helping him for 11 straight years,” said Hill.

Then one day while he was working for the U.S. Olympic Committee, Hill’s wife asked him a question that would change his life completely. “She said, ‘If money weren’t an issue, what would you do?” Hill remembered. “I told her that I’d love to get my degree and become a teacher and coach football.” She gave him the green light and he hasn’t looked back. 

Today, Hill teaches theory of knowledge and psychology in Hillcrest’s Baccalaureate program as well as psychology 1 and loves it.

But he’s also got to live the second part of his dream job – coaching football. Hill has now added 16 years of coaching high school football (Bountiful, Judge, and Hillcrest) to go with the now 13 years of Little League coaching. 

Now he takes on the job as Hillcrest’s head coach. “I am very humbled, but honestly, I could have waited a few years for this,” Hill said, referring to getting this position after the sudden passing of beloved coach Cazzie Brown last year. “But here I am.” 

Hill knows that he had to do more than just coach the team about football. He was going to have to get them to “feel again.” “They’ve been through a lot,” he said. “Some didn’t want to play anymore. And for the seniors I was going to be their fourth coach in four years.”

Hill knew that he had to make a promise to his team that he was going to be there for them. “I told them that I’m not going anywhere. I’m going to be here for them and together we can do a lot of great things together.”

“Cazzie brought pride to this program,” he said. “I just want to let them know that I’m planning on building on that.”

His passion for the sport and for his players is evident. Hill works with his team to make sure that they are mentally ready, just like you’d expect a psychology teacher to do.

“Football is a very rough, physical game,” he said. “But there is a huge mental side to it as well. I needed them to be ready to handle adversity, handle losses. They all rolled their eyes at first, but I think they get it now. I’ve taught them that in order to be successful in life, you have to be able to read people, and that goes for the player across the line from you.”

Hill gets to add another piece to living his dream. He gets to work alongside his son, Noah, who is the team’s defensive back coach. “It’s a dream. It’s the best thing in the world.” 

For the younger Hill, working with his father is all about one thing. “Make sure you know what he wants, and do it,” Noah said. “We (the rest of the coaching staff) like to voice our opinions and think we know it all, but we don’t know half of what he (Coach Hill) knows.” 

This makes his dad laugh and he recalls a story about his son. “I was coaching at Judge and Noah was about six. We were playing Wasatch and I was just getting my butt beat. Noah was at the game with my mom and dad and when I came home, late that night, there was a stack of papers on the table. On it was a note from Noah that said, ‘Dad, your offense isn’t very good. Here are some plays for you.’” Both dad and son laugh. “He had taken his Backyard Football computer game and drawn up some plays for me.”

Hill’s eyes light up with pride. “That’s when I knew what I had with him. I knew I had a good one.”

And a few minutes with Ron Hill it becomes obvious that Hillcrest has got themselves a “good one” as well.