Pursue What Matters

tim-hillersqTim Hiller uses the platform of his celebrated football career to serve others—sharing his faith and experiences through speaking, writing, and his work with Next Level Performance—leaving a lasting impact on all who hear his powerful message.

Tim’s Story: A Boy, a Ball, and a Dream

The boy with a ball began chasing his dream dodging imaginary defenders in the backyard and cutting out pictures from Sports Illustrated for Kids magazine. Inspired by his grandfather, Dan Sabino—an All-Big Ten center and 1952 Rose Bowl champion at the University of Illinois—Tim displayed a deep love for the game of football from an early age.

Tim’s love of the game continued through the ranks and record books of the Red Rider football program of Orrville High School in Orrville, Ohio. Tim re-wrote the record books as a quarterback at Orrville from 2001-04, finishing his high school career as Ohio’s seventh all-time leading passer with 7,260 yards and 55 touchdowns. Yet despite his high school success, a broken collarbone at the end of Tim’s senior year led to just one Division I college scholarship offer—from Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

The boy with a ball took the lone opportunity to continue chasing his dream, and he ran with it.

As a true freshman, Hiller threw for 1,334 yards, 20 touchdowns and just three interceptions and was named Mid-American Conference Freshman of the Year. However, Tim’s season ended with a devastating knee injury to his ACL, MCL, and PCL, requiring extensive surgery and a redshirt during the entire 2006 season.

Tim returned from injury in 2007 as he started all 12 games and became the second WMU Bronco to top 3,000 yards passing. Throughout the year, Tim played through the pain of a broken foot, which required surgery following the season.

Tim drew national attention during a 2008 junior season in which he set Broncos’ single-season records and led the entire MAC in passing attempts (522), completions (339), yards (3,725) and touchdowns (36), while leading the team to the Texas Bowl. Tim once again played through injury—suffering a torn ACL in his left knee in a win over the University of Illinois. Finishing the final three games of the season despite the injury, Tim underwent off-season surgery for a third time.

Tim returned from injury one final time, completing his career at WMU with a strong senior season, passing for 3,249 yards and 23 touchdowns, and earning an invitation to the NFL Combine. Tim ended his collegiate career throwing for more yards (11,329), completions (1,013), attempts (1,607) and touchdown passes (99) than anyone in Western Michigan history.

Tim was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Indianapolis Colts in 2010 where he spent six months on the roster under the coaching of former Buffalo Bill Frank Reich and the tutelage hall of fame quarterback Peyton Manning. After being released by the Colts, Tim had brief stints with the Chicago Bears, New England Patriots, and Kansas City Chiefs before his playing career ended.

Despite his accomplishments as an athlete, Tim’s most important achievements have taken place off the field, where his faith, leadership, and character continue to leave a lasting legacy.

As a student, Tim maintained a 4.0 GPA throughout high school and college, earning his undergraduate and graduate degrees while at WMU. Tim was also co-founder of WMU’s chapter of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and an active participant in community outreach. Tim was named an Academic All-American and his service and leadership were honored by the likes of the Wuerffel Trophy (Humanitarian Heisman), the William V. Campbell Trophy (National Scholar Athlete of the Year), and the John S. Pingel Award (Michigan Collegiate Scholar Athlete of the Year).

The HillersToday, Tim continues to do all he can in service to God, for the betterment of others. He is a frequently requested speaker across the Midwest and has coached high school football each year since his playing career ended, including three years as the Head Football Coach at Gull Lake High School in Richland, Michigan.

Hiller and his wife Michelle and son Daniel reside in Kalamazoo, Michigan where he is employed by Stryker Corporation and is co-owner of Next Level Performance, LLC, which delivers sport-specific training to athletes with a primary focus on leadership and character development.

Learn more about Tim’s work through speaking, writing, and Next Level Performance.

Honors & Achievements

  • 2010 National Football Foundation Hampshire Honor Society Member
  • 2010 Mid-American Conference Bob James Memorial Award Recipient
  • 2010 WMU Male Scholar Athlete of the Year
  • 2009 National Football Foundation William V. Campbell Trophy Finalist (National Scholar Athlete of Year)
  • 2009 Wuerrfel Trophy Recipient (“The Humanitarian Heisman”-Academics, Athletics, Community Service)
  • 2009 ESPN The Magazine—Academic All-American
  • 2009 Michigan Chapter of the National Football Foundation—Player of the Year
  • 2008 & 2009 ARA Sportsmanship Award Finalist (Athletics, Academics, Sportsmanship)
  • 2008-09 Detroit Athletic Club—Michigan Male Collegiate Athlete of the Year
  • 2007, 2008, & 2009 First Team Academic All Mid-American Conference
  • 2005 ESPN.com First Team Freshman All-American
  • 2005 Mid-American Conference Freshman of the Year

Tim’s really good with kids. He’s worried about every kid — how can we help this kid be successful?
Tom Marchese, Head Football Coach, Vicksburg High School, Vicksburg, Michigan

He’s such a great person on and off the field. Everyone knows what a great student he was, what he does out there in the community, and then what he accomplished on the football field. He’s the complete package, a joy to be around.
Bill Cubit, Offensive Coordinator, University of Illinois

I’m really encouraged and proud of Tim for everything he’s accomplished, and more importantly, everything he’s done to help other people.
Danny Wuerffel, 1996 Heisman Trophy Winner, Quarterback, University of Florida

Tim hit it out of the park with our team! People were talking all afternoon about how moved they were on a personal level.
Jason Walther, President & CEO, Walther Farms

Tim was professional and well prepared for the presentation to our students. I received 100% positive feedback from coaches and students. We appreciated how Tim and Next Level Performance understands students and the material presented was extremely relatable to a high school student athlete. Our student-athletes are looking forward to the next presentation.
Andrew LaBoe, Athletic Director, Loy Norrix High School, Kalamazoo, Michigan

Tim’s presentation was very moving and well received by our guests. Many people shared how his words touched them and specifically addressed a personal challenge that they are facing.
Luke Austenfeld, CEO, Sherman Lake YMCA, Augusta, Michigan