Mike Hill 1 Year Review


#1

There was no good forum for this, so it ended up here, mods feel free to move.

As we approach the one year mark for Mike Hill, I think it’s an appropriate time to take stock of where he is and what he has accomplished. This Friday, March 15 will mark Mike’s official one year mark.

Here are my thoughts:

Overall Grade: B-

Basketball - B+
Mike came in to a terrible situation, but he acted quickly and decisively on basketball. The immediate non-retention of the old crew was welcomed. Sanchez appears to be a great hire on paper. That said, basketball won 8 games, so it’s hard to say yet. I like the recruiting class we have coming in, but we are booked for the following year, so this upcoming class will be the bulk of Sanchez’s make or break. If we would have managed to get 10 wins it probably would have been an A- but hard to give any better marks with where we are right now just hoping that the future will be better.

Football - B-
Hill decided to retain Lambert and give him the opportunity to save his job. I didn’t want that, but it happened. Football season was somewhat more fun than before because we won a few games, but we had yet again another throwaway season. The Mike Houston debacle was embarrassing. An NDA should be used from now on during negotiations, and we got embarrassed nationally. That said, I liked that Hill yanked the offer and we moved on. IMO, it was the only move, and he did it decisively.

Then we moved from what appeared to be a slam dunk hire to a much more unknown with Healy. I like his enthusiasm, he seems like a genuine guy, he’s doing well on the recruiting trail, but let’s not kid ourselves, he has coached three seasons, and had one winning season, and then followed that up with a losing campaign. I really want him to do well, and people have good things to say about him, but he is a HUGE unknown right now. Time will tell on the Healy hire.

Other Sports - C
Baseball is the only other thing I really care about and no major changes have been made yet. IPF moving along but that wasn’t Hill’s doing. Other sports seem to be rolling along without significant changes as best I can tell.

Facilities / Intangibles - C+
The facilities study will be interesting when it comes out. I’m glad that we are performing it, but the next year will really be interesting to see what we undertake and how we accomplish it. C being average since so far we haven’t really done anything. Game day experience at both Halton and JRS seems largely unchanged. Marketing seems slightly better, but still underwhelming. Merchandise issues appears largely the same. I really like that Hill is more engaged with local media and active on social media. That said, I think if we’d hired anyone under 50 for this position, we should have expected the type of intangible changes we’ve seen so far.

This will be an interesting second year for Hill coming up. He will tackle facilities, should be more engaged with the staff, fan experience, etc., top to bottom. I hope we will continue to see good things.

Happy to hear other’s evaluations or anything critical of mine!


#2

Hill probably inherited the worst football/basketball program combo in the history of athletic director leadership changing hands at the FBS level.

I think your evaluation is spot on. Hard to give out A’s or F’s at this point. Hill has taken darn near every bit of the low hanging fruit around our program, which I greatly appreciate.

Many of our big picture issues are still there, but you can’t change that stuff in a year anyway.


#3

Quick thoughts:

Athletics facilities master plan is in the works and we know their looking into branding assessment too. Both of those are HUGE things. Hill also ratcheted up the Athletics commitment to the Exponential campaign, tacking on an additional $9 million in what they were to drum up. That’s significant. He talks consistently about needed resources and clearly is making it known to fans about that. I think the biggest piece missing right now from his first year here is a splash donation… Perhaps we already have it and are waiting for it to come out with the Athletics Facilities plan and an expansion announcement.

Based on the minimal staffing changes, I’d imagine he was giving coaches and internal employees a year or season to show their worth, I’d anticipate more change over next 6 months to a year than we’ve seen in the past.

The lack of gear is and always has been troublesome, but with the B&N deal being what it is, we’re screwed. I’d love for Hill/Fuller to be able to negotiate a change that and land us with Fanatics or something similar moving forward.

For game day environment/promos, I think similar to lack of turnover, Hill needed to see the lay of the land. What are we doing good, what isn’t working, etc. I’d expect more changes next year to things of this nature.


#4

Barnes and Noble deal is up for negotiation this month, right?


#5

A notice to change the original agreement (by either party) is . due on or before March 15, 2019.


#6

Well then, if you haven’t already let Mike Hill and Chris Fuller know how you feel about the bookstore merchandise now is the time folks!


#7

I think Hill has gotten the lay of the land and will (hopefully) make significant changes for Fall ‘19 and beyond. We won’t know what we have in terms of coaches, for a few years to come. Fingers crossed those hires (FB/MBB) pan out. But I like the hires as they stand now.

In terms of facilities, Halton is in dire need of updates/upgrades. Our FB stadium probably won’t see an expansion, until a large athletic fundraising program is in place. $50 million seems like a nice number to raise. Maybe low, but I think realistic. If Hill hasn’t already begun seeking donations, that’s a concern. I’m sure he has though.

Branding. If we don’t see a complete change or full on C-Pick with our logo soon, I’ll be disappointed. Definitely need to retire some logos and get a fresh look. Just my opinion.

Retail and licensing. Go with fanatics or don’t waste our time. B&N is abysmal. Go to our online merchandise page and you will be beyond depressed.

Marketing. It’s gotten a lot better, but that was a low bar to cross.

Overall, I’m still excited about Hill after year 1. I expect to see a lot more out of year 2.


#8

Athletics is committed to raising $49 million as their share of the ongoing Exponential campaign. That will include some funds already received like Richardson $$, but still substantial $$$ for the program.


#9

We saw the return of the plain C-pick. I’m happy for now :slight_smile:


#10

I think Hill has done a pretty good job so far.

He landed one of the best basketball coaches available from the “expert’s” list right away. We will see how that goes, but many people praised Sanchez.

He didn’t have much of a choice with Lambert. You don’t fire a coach in mid-March and try to hire another and a full staff. Plus this would have put some unnecessary strain on people within the AD. Remember that people did not know what to expect from a new boss and firings right away may not be appreciated. From the human side of things the University had already backed Brad for another season.
I like Healy as he is a good talker and motivator. Coaching in football is much more of a team effort than in other sports so the lack of experience doesn’t bother me. The video that was recently put out showing how excited the kids were in practice speaks loudly as to the direction we are heading.

Hill hired a new women’s tennis coach as well so he has addressed other sports. I would hope that some additional funds head over to the baseball team to see how that impacts their program. Hibbs has done pretty well over the years considering his lack of funds.

Not much work on the facilities, but that plan is coming. It will be interesting to see how well he does with fundraising once the plans come together. Step 1 for any AD is to get a plan and the costs. Step 2 is to secure the funds.


#11

clt is pleased with the direction of the AD.

We do need to go c pick only


#12

Not to be That Guy, but have we had an Athletic Facilities Master Plan in the last 35 years (that we know of)?


#13

I would’ve liked to have seen more from the overall basketball experience this year. I thought there would be changes and a little added excitement.


#14


#15

I believe our athletic facilities have been covered in the University’s Master Plan. This represents a change, probably partially in leadership, but certainly because we have hit a critical mass where we are ready for a big next step. The last couple of decades have been about providing facilities where none existed. I think this plan will show us a path from pretty good facilities compared to our peers, to facilities that will position us for a better conference. The big question is will we have the donations to execute it?


#16

#17

Grade: B-


#18

C-

-He cleared up the majority of the low hanging fruit which I have always maintained any respectable hire would have done. It’s impossible to grade him completely because we don’t know how his hires will do.

Sanchez hire was great on paper but was a coach who had never been lead chair. I would have rather had someone with college head coaching experience. Sanchez is our 3rd straight coach with no prior college HC experience. C

Fuller hire bumped him up to a C+.

Houston hire would have bumped him up to B+…but with how that played out and hiring basically an unknown coach I take it down to C-. IMO Healy is a feast of famine type of hire. The rah rah works when you are always an underdog. You now have expectations so hopefully he is the real deal and he can get us to bowls and conference championships.


#19

The only real grade here is an “Incomplete”

1 year is too limited a time frame to make any reasonable judgments.

On the positive side the level of engagement, fund raising, and use of the words"winning" and “success” are huge differences.

Critiques of the coaching hires are fine- I don’t think Hill stated early enough to fire Lambert. As for the Houston fiasco, they both showed their true colors and I think our guy is the one who handled it correctly.

Rome wasn’t built in a day, and this place had less infrastructure than Rome 1200 B.C. when he started. I actually appreciate the fact there is some deliberation in his actions, Id rather have precision than a “Ready, Fire, Aim” approach. Check back in another year and we may be able to form the beginnings of an opinion of what kind of job Hill and staff are doing.


#20

We really won’t know how good Hill is until we know how good Healy and Sanchez are.

Everything else for our program is secondary to the success (or failure) of those two programs. While I like what Hill is selling, it’s hard to sell when you’re two money making programs are under .500.