Less than two weeks after officially “finalizing” his staff for the upcoming season, new CSU head football coach Steve Fairchild had to make some unexpected changes.
Curtis Modkins, hired on Jan. 14 as the offensive coordinator/running backs coach, announced Wednesday that he will be joining the NFL’s Kansas City Chiefs as a running backs coach instead. Modkins was widely considered one of the prize hires on Fairchild’s new staff, having worked as a college coach for 13 years — six with the Atlantic Coast Conference’s Georgia Tech Yellowjackets — before being offered a position at CSU.
“Certainly we are sad to see Curtis leave,” Fairchild said in a statement released by the athletic department. “But this is a good opportunity for him. It speaks highly of the quality of individuals we have attracted to Colorado State, that an NFL team would be interested in a member of our staff.”
Fairchild wasted no time in filling the void, however, hiring former CSU standout Anthoney Hill to replace Modkins as next year’s running backs coach.
To shore up the remaining gaps, Greg Peterson — who was originally set to be the recruiting coordinator — will become the offensive coordinator/wide receivers coach in addition to his recruiting duties. Daren Wilkinson, the current quarterbacks coach, will now share responsibilities with Peterson as recruiting coordinator when he is away from the field.
Hill, 36, was the quarterback of the Rams for three seasons (1992-1994) and currently holds the school’s second all-time record for total yards (7,147) behind Bradlee Van Pelt (8,443). He is also tied for fourth with 37 career TD passes, and fifth in career passing yards (6,020).
In 1994, Hill quarterbacked the Rams to a 10-2 record, along with a birth in the Holiday Bowl and a No. 14 national ranking in the USA Today/CNN coaches poll.
“When Anthoney was here we proved that CSU could win 10 games, play in big bowl games, and get into those national polls,” Fairchild said. “We don’t have to prove that it can be done. It’s going to take a lot of work and a lot of people moving in the same direction, but we can get there again.”
Hill said that the decision to return to CSU was one that took “milliseconds.”
“I’m as excited as hell,” a giddy Hill said of the offer via phone. “I’ve thought about this day for a long time and to actually have it here … it’s all surreal.
“This is a job that I have coveted for a long time.”
Since his playing days, Hill has worked as both a high school coach and college assistant. In 2007 Hill was the head coach of the San Diego High School Cavers, a team that went 1-8 overall, and 0-5 in league play. A product of the San Diego area coming out of high school, Hill continues to have strong ties to the region that should help bolster the program’s recruiting efforts in southern California.
Hill earned a bachelor’s degree in applied human sciences from Colorado State in 1999.
Sports writer Nick Hubel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.