Hill-Eley says he's Morgan's new coach

Offensive coordinator: School plans to announce promotion on Tuesday

College Football

January 20, 2002|By Bill Free | Bill Free,SUN STAFF

Donald Hill-Eley said yesterday that he has been chosen the new head football coach at Morgan State, which plans to announce his hiring Tuesday.

Hill-Eley, 34, is currently the Bears' offensive coordinator and has been directing all the recruiting since Stanley Mitchell was fired last fall after a 2-9 season.

He will be Morgan State's 11th head football coach in 28 years, a frustrating time during which the Bears have compiled an 83-197 record. Hill-Eley has spent only one season at Morgan, but he also served as quarterbacks coach under Don Matthews for two years with the Baltimore Stallions of the CFL. Hill-Eley followed Mathews to the Toronto Argonauts, where he was wide receivers coach for one season.

In his one season at Morgan, Hill-Eley put together an offense that was third in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference in passing and fifth in rushing.

"I'm not worried about our offense," he said yesterday. "I'm mostly concerned with getting a strong defensive coaching staff. We're only going to get better and better offensively. We had several injuries last season that held us back on both sides of the ball."

Hill-Eley seemed undaunted by the fact that the Bears have had only one winning season (9-2 in 1979) in the 28 years since the popular and successful Earl Banks was head coach.

"Everything is in place for us to be successful here," said Hill-Eley. "We have the new stadium renovations and I plan to build on the current recruiting base. Also in my two years with the Stallions, I made some contacts with corporations that will help the program financially."

He said he is prepared for an important recruiting weekend in two weeks, which could determine how quick he is able to rebuild the program. One person who is happy that Hill-Eley was chosen is Jeffrey Pope, who is president of the Varsity M Club.

"It's the right move because Donald has all the recruiting information in hand and it will help when someone the kids are familiar with approaches them," Pope said.

Hill-Eley has been open about his desire to be Morgan's coach, informing athletic director David Thomas the first week after Mitchell's firing that he wanted the job. Thomas could not be reached to comment yesterday.

Hill-Eley's hiring came after negotiations fell through between the agent for former Oakland Raiders coach Art Shell and Morgan president Dr. Earl Richardson.

Hill-Eley, also an offensive coordinator at Hampton for four years, was chosen over Division II coach Kent Schoolfield of Fort Valley (Ga.) State.

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