Throwback Thursday

Sept. 9, 2010

Harrison Hill (football, 1997-01)

A Wichita native, Harrison Hill played football at the University of Kansas from 1997-2001. He ranks 12th on the KU all-time receiving yards list with 1,535, while also ranking ninth on the all-time receptions list with 108. He caught 47 passes in 2000, which is the 17th best receiving season in Kansas history. In 1999 and 2000, Hill led the team in yards receiving with 506 and 591, respectively. In 1998 he had 28 receptions, and in 2000, he caught 47, both team-leaders that year. Hill currently lives in Kansas City.

What have you been doing since you left KU?

“I am in my eighth year as a Financial Advisor and Financial Planning Specialist at Morgan Stanley Smith Barney in Kansas City, in the Plaza office. My role is to develop, implement and monitor/evaluate a wealth management plan for each one of my clients. I work primarily with individuals and families, as well as a small group of businesses and not for profit organizations. My process is built around putting in place investment strategies to help my clients meet their various financial goals, which include retirement, college funding, philanthropy, wealth accumulation, wealth preservation and wealth transfer. The majority of my clients are KU Alumni and/or KU supporters.

Do you still keep up with the Jayhawk football team?

“I certainly do. I co-host a pregame radio show, on 1320 AM. It starts two and a half hours prior to game time – we set up base at the Oread Hotel. I do the show with Brian Hanni, who is a local talk show host. I am at every home game, my family and I have 20 total season tickets – so I’ve been going to pretty much every home game since I graduated.

Do you still keep in touch with any of your former teammates or coaches?

“Absolutely – I talk to a good number of my teammates, we remain close friends. My former receivers coach, Darrell Wyatt, is back coaching at KU now. It was nice because I was able to see him when he came back to KU. With almost all of my teammates, even if we don’t talk too much, we usually touch base a few times every year just to see how everyone is doing. There’s “Snowball”, well everybody knows him as Snowball, and he does have a name, Marcus Owen, who was a lineman on our teams. I keep up with Brandon Weir; also my roommate, Sean McDermott, who played for the (New England) Patriots when they won the Super Bowl. He was actually at the game with me this past. Of course, there’s David Winbush, who was our running back, we e-mail a lot, to keep in touch. On occasion, I’ll reach out to guys like Dylen Smith, who was my quarterback – there’s actually about 30 different guys that I’ll talk to on a regular basis, so that is nice.”

What led you to choosing Kansas?

“It was actually a pretty tough decision. I had the opportunity to go to a number of different schools, but when it came down to it, I wanted to play baseball in college as well as football. Kansas was very open-minded to the fact that I was going to play both sports – also, my brother, Hamilton (currently a trial lawyer and partner at Bartlit Beck Herman Palenchar and Scott LLP in Chicago) was the quarterback at KU when I was in high school, I thought it would be a great opportunity to play football with my brother in college, just like we did in high school. I thought it would be fun to catch some passes from my brother in college. Ultimately, being able to play baseball, and playing on the same field as my brother, really led to me to KU.”

You started on the baseball team in 1999, but you left baseball to concentrate on football, do you wish you would have played baseball longer?

“It was tough. I played baseball my freshman year, but it was tough. There’s two main reasons: one is that you didn’t get to work out with your football teammates that often, so I missed all of spring football, all of the winter conditioning – and in baseball, you travel so often that you don’t really get to live an extremely healthy lifestyle, you don’t eat the best food, you don’t work out that often – so that took a toll on my body. At KU, I got to the point, where I was the starting wide receiver, and being named a captain on the team. I felt like my teammates needed me around (on the football field) more often. I felt like I was going to be an integral part of the team. Since football was the full scholarship, and they were the ones paying the bills, I needed to give it more of my time.”

You hold the Kansas state high school record for most touchdown receptions in a career with 42 at Wichita Collegiate. Up until 2007, you held three other Kansas high school records, talk about what that means to you:

“Yeah, I used to have a lot of them, and then if I’m right, (three years) ago, some guy from Salina, (Travis Neidig from St. John’s high school) broke them. I had most interceptions and interceptions for touchdown. I met Travis Neidig. His mother called me when he was getting close to breaking my records, because she wanted me to meet him and get a few pictures, it was pretty neat. (Hill also held the Kansas high school record for most receiving yards in a career, which was also broken in 2007.). I’m glad I had those records, we had a very successful high school program. I’m just glad I had a chance to have so much success in high school. It really gave me the opportunity to have more options on where I wanted to go to college. I took a lot of pride in the program, we came from a culture with a lot of state championships, and it was really nice.”

As you know, senior running back Angus Quigley is in his sixth year on the football team at Kansas, you were a six-year player yourself; do you have any advice for him?

“I think when I really noticed being older the most was when I was at a restaurant in Lawrence one night and a girl was there that I used to babysit when I was growing up. It just made me realize that I’ve been here for a long time! My teammates really gave me a hard time, and now I see that they’re doing that to Angus as well. The reality is, when you’ve been at a school for a long time, you really know what it takes to be a leader and be successful. People look to you as that leader since you’ve been there for a while; with that time spent at KU, more is expected out of you. He needs to look at it as a great opportunity to play college football, which is the most exciting thing that he may be a part of, he also needs to realize that there are higher expectations and that you need to be a leader at all times.”

You were a senior when Mark Mangino became head coach at Kansas, what advice do you have for the current Jayhawks who are in their first year with Turner Gill, and trying to adjust to a different style?

“It’s a big difference. It all depends on which type of atmosphere you’re changing from. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to play a full season under Coach Mangino. I had some health issues and I couldn’t play my last year at KU. I was there for the winter, spring, and summer when he came in and it was a big transition going from Terry Allen to Mark Mangino. When Coach Mangino came in, he really put the hammer down, and ran a much tighter ship. There was no margin for error at all. It just takes some time to get adjusted to a different coaching style. Now changing from Coach Mangino to Coach Gill is also a very different style. I just think the players will have to get acclimated to how the new coaches want you to do things. It just gives you an opportunity to start fresh.”

What is your favorite football memory at Kansas?

“We had a lot of success against Missouri. All of the games against Missouri when we beat them at home, or on their field, to me they were all great memories. There was one game in 1999 at home when I had a pretty good game and we got to beat them up pretty good. I started jogging down the sideline and I saw John Hadl and Gale Sayers were there clapping because we were doing so well, and I got a high five from them. I thought it was a pretty powerful moment that those two guys were cheering for us when we beat Missouri.”

What is the thing you miss most about being a student-athlete at KU and living in Lawrence?

“When I think back, the first thing that I think about is not game-related. I just think about all my teammates. The best thing ever about college football is you have all these different types of individuals from all these different types of backgrounds -you have this group that all comes together and they become brothers fighting for a similar cause. When I think back, there’s really nowhere else in the world where you have so many different types of people who, without football, probably wouldn’t even associate with one another. Because of college football, and because of that opportunity, you all become brothers – and you love each other for the rest of your life. There is not one guy on that team that I wouldn’t help out if they called me tomorrow and asked me to borrow money or asked me to come help them in any way. That’s why I love it.”