Chris Hill to retire as Utah athletic director after 31 years at school

After 31 years as the athletic director at Utah, Chris Hill announced Monday that he will retire this spring.

No FBS athletic director has been in his or her current job longer than Hill, who was 37 years old when he took the job in 1987.

"Chris Hill leaves a tremendous legacy at the University of Utah," school president Ruth Watkins said in a statement. "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."

Most notable under Hill's watch was Utah's move from the Mountain West Conference to what became the Pac-12 in 2011.

"The University of Utah fit the academic profile of the [former] Pac-10 Conference, so we in athletics did everything we could to position ourselves similarly from an athletic standpoint," Hill said.

In a release announcing his retirement, Utah said Hill turned down offers to become the AD at several other Power 5 schools.

"Happiness isn't all about money and prestige," Hill said. "All of us who have worked in Utah athletics knew this place was a sleeping giant and we never gave up hope that we could get it done here. My wife Kathy and I love living in Salt Lake City and raising our family here."

Hill arrived in Salt Lake City in 1973, when he was named a graduate assistant for then-basketball coach Bill Foster. He earned both a master's in education and a doctorate in educational administration from Utah.

Several new athletics facilities have opened during Hill's tenure, including Rice-Eccles Stadium -- the Utes' 45,000-seat football stadium, which hosted the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2002 Winter Olympics.

The school did not announce a timeline for when it planned to name Hill's replacement.