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New offensive coordinator looks to make impact on and off the field

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New offensive coordinator looks to make impact on and off the field

Kelly Bills is the new offensive coordinator. Bills the former assistant coach and quarterbacks coach for Weber
University.

Kelly Bills is the new offensive coordinator. Bills the former assistant coach and quarterbacks coach for Weber University.

Kelly Bills is the new offensive coordinator. Bills the former assistant coach and quarterbacks coach for Weber University.

Kelly Bills is the new offensive coordinator. Bills the former assistant coach and quarterbacks coach for Weber University.

Austin Lane, Staff Reporter

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The CWU football team has had much success in the past couple seasons. Since 2016, the team is 21-3 in GNAC conference games, including a perfect 8-0 record in the GNAC in 2017. Part of CWU’s successful football team is their offense, and that’s what new Offensive Coordinator Kelly Bills will be taking control of.

Bills spent five seasons as an assistant coach for Brigham Young University (BYU), two seasons as an offensive coordinator at Willamette University, one season as an assistant coach at Utah State University and three seasons as an assistant coach at Weber State University.

Wildcat head coach Chris Fisk has known Bills since his time as an assistant coach at BYU. Fisk knew as soon as he became the head coach for CWU this offseason that Bills was one of the top candidates for the offensive coordinator spot.

“I’ve known coach Bills for a long time and he’s a loyal friend…he’s innovative, I think he’s a great, young offensive mind,” Fisk said. “He’s hungry…he’s a guy that’s excited to show what he can do as a coordinator at a high level of college football.”

In his previous time as an offensive coordinator at Willamette University, Bills said that he had fallen in love with the Northwest. Bills knew that eventually he and his family would want to return and that this was a good opportunity to do so.

“It was hard leaving my players at Weber… but when [Fisk] made the call and actually officially extended the offer to me, it was a no-brainer really. It was a chance I couldn’t really pass up,” Bills said.

On the football field, Bills will take care of offensive coordinators duties, such as calling plays. Off the field, however, Bills is a family man. He and his wife are parents to two sons with a third on the way in July. Bills’ coaching philosophy changed after having children, as he started to view his players like sons of his own.

As he spends time with the players everyday, Bills wants to coach them hard and hold them accountable, but also love them as family.

“I think you love them by spending time with them and by helping them and serving them everyday and that’s just very gratifying to me,” Bills said.

Part of Bills’ relationship with players off the field also includes his other title, academic coordinator. As academic coordinator, Bills will oversee all player grades in classes and make sure they are on track to pass classes each quarter.

Being an offensive coordinator isn’t just calling plays during the game. Bills manages the offense as a whole, which includes offensive coaches. He will work alongside coach Fisk and offensive assistant Reggie Long on the offensive line, assistant head coach John Picha on tight ends, offensive graduate assistant Jack Singler on running backs, as well as volunteer assistant wide receivers coaches Brandon Gibson and Subodh Kumar.

CWU has historically been a part of some coachs’ pathways to other coaching positions within college football. Most recently, head coach Ian Shoemaker took a position at Eastern Washington University. Part of coaching is taking other positions and while coach Fisk knows this, he would like to “hold onto [Bills] as long as we can.”

For Bills, CWU is a step down from Weber State, as he moves from NCAA Division 1 to NCAA Division 2. However, the lower division had little influence on Bills’ big decision.

“You don’t leave an FCS program just to go to some random school that has a losing tradition,” Bills said.  “I thought this was a unique place enough where I can make that move.”

As Bills and his family finally settle into Ellensburg for his first season on the coaching staff, he has already seen glimpses of what he will enjoy in the college town.

“Honestly every place you go to, I don’t think it really matters where you go, there’s some really cool things about Ellensburg,” Bills said. “I have received a lot of support from people here on campus, people in our neighborhood, people that genuinely care and are willing to reach out. Coaches on the staff and their families have all been super supportive with the transition and that makes a huge difference as you go to a new place. You wanna feel that love and support from people and if you don’t have that, you can feel that too. In this profession you wanna have support and people you lean on and we definitely have that here.”

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