Utah Athletics Director Chris Hill announced Monday his plan to retire in the spring. The announcement signifies the end of a 31-year career at the position – the longest active tenure as an AD at a single school in the NCAA.
“My heart was telling me that is was time,” said Hill. “When your heart tells you do something, you do it.”
Leaving a lasting legacy at the University of Utah, the New Jersey native has left big shoes to be filled at his position. Hill will continue as AD through the spring, citing his desire to fulfill his promise to expand Rice-Eccles Stadium. A replacement candidate has not yet been named.
Since his hiring in October of 1987, Hill has ushered Utah athletics into national prominence – serving on the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Committee, the NCAA-appointed chairman of the Championships/Competition Cabinet from 1997-98 and numerous other nationally respected positions. His efforts even hit an international stage when Rice-Eccles Stadium hosted the Opening and Closing Ceremonies for the 2002 Salt Lake Olympic Winter Games.
Hill’s most endearing accomplishments, however, have come on campus. The driving force behind Utah Athletics success and upwards trends, Hill has triggered the U’s transition from a mid-major athletic institution into a top-flight program.
“Chris Hill leaves a tremendous legacy at the University of Utah.” University of Utah president Ruth V. Watkins said in a press release. “Chris has embodied all the traits needed to build a successful program: a student advocate, a skilled negotiator, a solid administrator with a keen eye for talent, an excellent fundraiser and a passionate sports fan. His leadership and relentless drive to raise the caliber and quality of our athletics program over his 31-year helped earn the university an invitation to join the Pac-12 Conference – a milestone that has proven to be transformational for our entire campus.”
A long list of accomplishments can be shortened into some lasting highlights of Hill’s tenure.
Per Utah Athletics – Hill’s Facility Legacy
George S. Eccles Tennis Center (1989)
Ute Baseball Field (1994)
Volleyball Crimson Court (1994)
Ute Soccer Field (1995)
Rice-Eccles Stadium (1998)
Dumke Gymnastics Center (1998)
Burbidge Athletics Academic Center (2001)
Spence Eccles Field House (2004)
Alex Smith Strength & Conditioning Center (2009)
McCarthey Family Track & Field Complex (2010)
McCarthey Football Practice Fields (2012)
Dumke Family Softball Stadium (2013)
Spence & Cleone Eccles Football Center (2013)
Sorensen High Performance Center (2015)
Jon M. and Karen Huntsman Basketball Center (2015)
Ute Outdoor Tennis Courts (2015)
Highlights under Hill
- Men’s Basketball
NCAA Tournament 15 times
Final Four 1998 (runner-up)
Elite Eight 1997, ‘98
Sweet 16 1991, ‘96, ‘97, ‘98, 2005, ‘15
Conference Champion 12 times
Bowl Record 12-4
BCS Bowl Record 2-0
Conference Champion 5 times
Pac-12 South Champion 2015
- Women’s Gymnastics
NCAA Champion 1990, ‘92, ‘94, ‘95
NCAA Runner-up 2000, ‘06, ‘07, ‘08, ‘15
NCAA Super Six 19 times
Pac-12 Champion 2014, ‘15
- Women’s Basketball
NCAA Tournament 15 times
Elite Eight 2006
Sweet 16 2001, 2006
Conference Champion 10 times
NCAA Champion 1988, ‘93, ‘96, ‘97, 2003
NCAA Runner-up 9 times
NCAA Sweet 16 2001, ‘08
NCAA Tournament 12 times
College World Series 1991, ‘94
Super Regional 2016
NCAA Tournament 13 times
NCAA Tournament 6 times
NCAA Tournament 2009, ‘16
Pac-12 Champion 2016
Dr. Hill was 37 years old when he took the job as our athletics director.
Now he’s the longest actively tenured athletics director at the same school in the #NCAA FBS.
He’ll retire with an impressive legacy, and his impact cannot be overstated.
31 years of excellence! #goutes pic.twitter.com/4KMEmlcnQr
— Utah Athletics (@utahathletics) March 26, 2018