Hill staying, Leach back in Seattle?

Pat Hill released a statement through the school today saying he is withdrawing his name from the UW coaching search.

In that statement, he said he wanted an answer by today if he was going to leave, and that he doesn’t think he was the UW’s top choice:

“I had a great visit with the people at Washington and I appreciate their consideration,” said Hill. “At this time, it’s in the best interest of my players and the Fresno State program that I withdraw from consideration and put my full attention on preparing for a bowl game and getting our team ready for the 2009 season.”

“As I said before, whoever gets the Washington job will have a great challenge but also a great opportunity. They have great support and tradition there and are making a serious commitment to restoring that program. As they move through their hiring process, they have made it clear that they are not ready to hire a coach at this time and I can’t keep my players or our staff hanging on. We are building a very good recruiting class that I’m really excited about and that’s a huge consideration, too.”

“I had a great visit with the leadership at the University of Washington and I have a great deal of respect for them and their vision. Because of the time frame we discussed, which is that I needed an answer by Wednesday, it’s apparent that I’m not their top candidate. I felt it was in my best interest and the best interest of our team to make this decision at this time. I wish them the best of luck in their search.”

“We have not met all the goals for our program at Fresno State and I’m committed to reaching those goals. We are going to have a good football team in 2009 but we have a lot of work to do this offseason to get ready for that. No one within our program is completely pleased with the results of this season, but the season’s not over. We can finish it with a bowl win and build toward next year.”

Also, word is that Mike Leach is on his way back to Seattle today for a second interview, indicating that he is serious about the UW job.

I talked earlier to one beat reporter who covers the Red Raiders, and he told me that Leach has gone quiet this week, which is “very rare” for a coach who is usually very accessible to the media. The belief down there is that Leach seems to be serious about the UW job, but there is still the chance he’s using the UW’s interest to get a raise at Tech or earn a big paycheck from Auburn.

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