For the first time in more than 3 decades the University of Utah has a new Athletic Director. Friday Afternoon, Utah announced that Mark Harlan, the AD at The University of South Florida, will take over the position vacated by Dr. Chris Hill in retirement. Harlan will begin his new job on July 1st.
Sources told ESPN 700 that Utah was looking for a candidate with Pac 12 Conference ties and experience in the hiring process. Harlan checks that box. Harlan earned both bachelor and master’s degrees from the University of Arizona. Before taking the AD’s job at South Florida, Harlan spent 4 years as Senior Associate Athletic Director at UCLA. In Westwood he helped to raise more than 125 million dollars in annual fund and campaign gifts, plus oversaw the renovation of Pauley Pavilion at a cost of 137 million dollars.
Harlan will oversee 20 varsity sports at Utah and manage a staff of more than 200 people, with a budget of 80 million dollars. Harlan will play a key role in fundraising and lead the drive for the expansion of Rice-Eccles Stadium.
“I am humbled to follow in the footsteps of Chris Hill and to build on the strong foundation already in place,” said Harlan. “President Watkins has a clear vision for the University of Utah and recognizes that athletics can play a role in the university’s upward trajectory. I am grateful to her for the tremendous opportunity and her confidence in me and I cannot wait to get started.”
During Harlan’s tenure at USF, the Bulls won 12 American Athletic Conference championships and nine different sports programs ranked in the Top 25 during the 2017-2018 academic year. The Bulls football program was one of 13 programs in the nation to win 20 or more games the past two seasons and was ranked in the Top 25 for a program-record 19 straight weeks.
Mark Harlan is expected to be introduced formally at a press conference on Monday. Stay tuned to ESPN 700 for more details.
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