Athletes Pot Penalties-1

In this Feb. 28, 2013, file photo, Utah athletic director Chris Hill speaks at a news conference in Salt Lake City.

SALT LAKE CITY — A staple for University of Utah sports is calling it quits after a lengthy career. 

The university announced Monday, March 26, that Chris Hill will retire from his position as athletic director after 31 years at the helm. Hill is the longest active-tenured athletic directors at the NCAA FBS level, according to a press release from U of U

Hill took the job in 1987, and is credited for being the leader of the Utes’ transition into the Pac-12 Conference in 2011. 

Hill is also known for hiring elite coaches during his tenure, such as football coach Urban Meyer — who lead the Utes to an undefeated season in 2004 capped off by defeating Alabama in the Sugar Bowl — and men’s basketball coach Rick Majerus — who took Utah through the 1998 NCAA Tournament before falling to Kentucky in the national championship. 

With Hill at the helm, Utah athletics opened 17 new facilities and has reached a number of postseason tournaments, including a total of 15 NCAA Tournament appearances by both the men’s and women’s basketball teams, the release says. 

"Chris Hill leaves a tremendous legacy at the University of Utah," said university President Ruth V. Watkins 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.”

Contact reporter Jacob Scholl at jscholl@standard.net or follow him on Twitter @Jacob_Scholl.

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