Fourteen years ago, Anthoney Hill was a senior quarterback in the middle of leading the CSU football team to one of its best seasons in school history. Today, Hill is back in Fort Collins, leading the Rams in a different way and about to receive one of the highest accolades the university can give.
Hill, who is in his first year of coaching with the Rams, is one of six new inductees to the CSU Hall of Fame at the CSU Hall of Fame induction ceremony tonight.
The 36-year-old is still in disbelief that he is receiving such an honor.
“It’s way bigger than me,” the running backs coach said. “No one really thinks about being inducted into the hall of fame when they are playing. When it’s all said and done, this is just icing on the cake.”
CSU head coach Steve Fairchild is going to enjoy watching the induction of his one-time player and current assistant.
“He’s very deserving,” the former CSU offensive coordinator said. “It’s cool that I was able to be his coach part of his career here.”
Hill enjoyed a remarkable career at CSU, most notably leading the Rams to a 10-2 record and a Holiday Bowl appearance against the University of Michigan in 1994. Hill finished the season passing for 2,552 yards and 16 touchdowns.
The father of three has deep roots at CSU and in Fort Collins, spending time in Fort Collins as a quarterback, a student assistant and now an assistant coach.
Hill, who is second on the Rams all-time passing yards list, sees Fort Collins and the people who filled his time here as special and very influential to his development.
Fairchild is one of them.
“I grew up and became a man here,” the former San Diego High School head coach said. “Coach Fairchild had a part in that, turning me loose and letting me be the player I knew I could always be. I’m forever grateful for that.”
Fairchild always knew he wanted Hill on his coaching staff.
“I’ve always thought Anthoney was a special guy in terms of his leadership and as the type of person he was,” he said. “I knew even when he was a player that one day I would like him on my staff after the situation was right. It certainly was here.”
Fairchild asked Hill to join his staff January of this year, bringing him on as running backs coach.
Players and coaches alike are excited to see Hill enter the HOF. Rams running back Kyle Bell explained that it will make Saturday’s game against the Houston Cougars that much more special for everyone.
“We’re around him everyday and we’ve become pretty close to him,” the senior said. “It’s cool that he is getting that honor. It makes Saturday that much bigger for him and that transfers through to the backs.”
Hill’s induction is scheduled for a ceremony tonight at 5:30 p.m. at the Hilton Fort Collins, but said that he will be completely focused on defeating the Cougars the next day.
“Game day is still game day,” he said. “I won’t think a thing about the Hall of Fame come 1:30 on Saturday.”
Hill stays modest in the face of having his accomplishments recognized, explaining that it was his team that got him where he is today.
“A lot of guys I played with probably deserve to be in there before me,” he said. “I’m truly humbled and honored.”
Football beat reporter Adam Bohlmeyer can be reached at email@example.com.