After lighting up scoreboards in North Florida the past two years, Brent Hill will now work to build an offensive power in Chattanooga.
Notre Dame High School announced its hire of Hill as head coach of the Fighting Irish football program Wednesday, and he will be introduced during an on-campus news conference at noon Thursday.
Hill takes over for Charles Fant, the program's all-time leader in wins who stepped down in early January after totaling 81 victories in his 12 seasons.
“We made a promise to our community that we would search quickly and thoroughly and we are thrilled to introduce Brent as the school’s next head football coach,” Notre Dame athletic director Brian Gill said in a news release. “Brent has built powerhouse offenses from the ground up at every school he has worked and has been an instrumental part of many facility improvements at every stop.”
Hill, who studied at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, began his coaching career in 1998. Three years later, he had his first full-time position on staff at Briarcrest Christian under Hugh Freeze, who has gone on to be an NCAA Division I head coach at Ole Miss, Liberty and currently Auburn.
From 2002-06, Hill was the offensive coordinator at another Memphis-area program, Evangelical Christian, where he helped lead the program to a TSSAA Division II-AA state championship in 2005 with a 26-0 win over Knoxville Webb in the final. In 2007, Hill added another state title in an undefeated season as offensive coordinator for DII-A’s St. George’s Independent School, where he would take over as head coach in 2011 and win another state title.
After going 22-5 as head coach at St. George’s, he went on to lead Alabama's Opp High School to 26 wins in his first three seasons from 2014-16, setting the program record for points scored each of those years. He was there four more years before moving on to become head coach at North Florida Christian in Tallahassee. Hill helped produce one of the Sunshine State's top prep offenses the past two seasons, a stretch that generated 20 wins — averaging 38.4 points over 25 games — and back-to-back state semifinals appearances.
The starting quarterback during Hill's time at North Florida was JP Pickles, who signed this past December with the University of Texas at El Paso. Hill thrived in Hill's up-tempo spread offenses, throwing for 9,500 yards and 97 touchdowns and rushing for 2,000 yards and 25 scores over the past three seasons. That included a highlight game in which Pickles produced 735 total yards of offense (483 passing, 252 rushing) and seven touchdowns.
While in Tallahassee, Hill also coached Traylon Ray, who was a freshman receiver at West Virginia this past season, along with Florida Atlantic signee Leon Washington Jr., whose father was a Florida State standout and an NFL running back for 10 seasons and is now an assistant coach for the New York Jets.
“We are excited to join the Notre Dame family,” Hill, whose career record as a head coach is 88-51, said in the release. “This brings us back to our roots in Chattanooga, and I am looking forward to building a well-known football program in Division II-AA. Our prayer is to develop young men that make our stakeholders proud.”
Hill has been a part of 14 playoff runs as an assistant or head coach, including 10 semifinals and six finals. In 2011, he was named Tennessee prep football coach of the year by multiple organizations, and he was a Florida Athletic Coaches Association coach of the year the past two seasons.
He was also the Fellowship of Christian Athletes director at both Briarcrest Christian and St. George’s.
“This is an exciting new era of Notre Dame Fighting Irish football,” Deacon Hicks, head of school, said in the release. “Brent has a proven record of building and rebuilding both high school football teams and athletic departments. More importantly, he has cultivated character-driven athletes throughout his career.”
Contact Patrick MacCoon at firstname.lastname@example.org.