ESPN 700 Interviews

Utah AD Chris Hill retiring

Utah AD Chris Hill speaks to ESPN700's Bill Riley following his retirement announcement at the Jon M. Huntsman Center

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
  • Football
    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
  • Skiing
    NCAA Champion             1988, ‘93, ‘96, ‘97, 2003
    NCAA Runner-up             9 times
  • Volleyball
    NCAA Sweet 16               2001, ‘08
    NCAA Tournament          12 times
  • Softball
    College World Series       1991, ‘94
    Super Regional                 2016
    NCAA Tournament          13 times
  • Soccer
    NCAA Tournament          6 times
  • Baseball
    NCAA Tournament          2009, ‘16
    Pac-12 Champion             2016

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