Hill rejects offer to interview at Oregon State

Fitz Hill's new contract runs through the 2006 season and reaffirms the school's commitment to I-A football. Hill tell's Oregon State "No Thanks".

San Jose State football coach Fitz Hill met with Oregon State officials last weekend about their vacant head-coaching position but ultimately told them he wasn't interested, SJSU Athletic Director Chuck Bell said Wednesday.

Oregon State announced Wednesday night that it has hired Mike Riley, who coached the Beavers in 1997-98. He will be introduced at a news conference today, the school said.

``They flew in and talked to Fitz, and he told them, `I don't want to leave San Jose State,' '' Bell said. ``I'm big-time relieved, and it speaks to Fitz's integrity.''

Hill, who last month signed a two-year contract extension with a base salary of $166,000 through 2006, couldn't be reached for comment late Wednesday. He is 9-16 in two seasons at SJSU.

An Oregon State spokesman wouldn't confirm that Hill, 38, was approached about the job, which opened when Dennis Erickson left to coach the 49ers.

Beavers Athletic Director Bob De Carolis interviewed several candidates, including Boise State Coach Dan Hawkins and Oregon State assistants Tim Lappano, Dan Cozetto and Gregg Smith. The Oregonian newspaper reported that the school also talked to Colorado State Coach Sonny Lubick, in addition to Hill.

Oregon State didn't ask for permission to speak to Hill, Bell said. ``I found out through talking to a number of people, in addition to Fitz,'' the athletic director said. ``Fitz kept me up to date every minute of the way.''

Hill declined Oregon State's offer to visit the campus, Bell said.

Riley, 49, was 8-14 in two seasons with the Beavers. He left in 1999 to coach the San Diego Chargers of the NFL, where he went 14-34 in three seasons before being fired. He worked last season as an assistant with the New Orleans Saints.

-------------------------------------------------- The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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