Dr. Chris Hill
Year at Utah: 26th
1987-present: Director of Athletics
1998-present: Special Assistant to the President
Dr. Chris Hill has spent the last quarter of a century developing Utah athletics into a national player. Among his many accomplishments was his instrumental role in Utah's invitation into the Pac-12 Conference in the summer of 2010.
Hill, just 37 years old when he was appointed as Utah's director of athletics in 1987, has been at the helm of the department for two BCS bowl wins, nine NCAA team championships (four by the gymnastics team and five by the ski team) and NCAA runner-up finishes in men's basketball (1998), football (2008), gymnastics (2000, 2006, 2007, 2008) and skiing (eight total).
He has hired three coaches who became a National Coach of the Year in their sport: football coaches Urban Meyer (2004) and Kyle Whittingham (2008), and men's basketball coach Rick Majerus (1998).
Hill, himself, has received national acclaim, most recently as one of five 2011 finalists for the prestigious Sports Business Award for Athletic Director of the Year by SportsBusiness Journal and SportsBusiness Daily. He was also the 2011 National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) Under Armour West Region Athletic Director of the Year.
Hill has served on several national boards, including the NCAA Division IMen's Basketball Committee (2004-09), chair of the NCAA Championships/Competition Cabinet (1997-98) and the NCAA Management Council Administrative Committee. He was on the NACDA's executive committee from 2002-06.
Among the events leading up to Utah's historic invitation to join the Pac-12 were BCS bowl wins over Pitt in the 2005 Fiesta Bowl as the first team from a non-automatic qualifying conference to play in a BCS bowl game, and over Alabama in the 2009 Sugar Bowl. The Utes are 11-4 in bowl games during Hill's tenure.
Utah's other athletic programs have also thrived under his leadership. The men's basketball team has played in 13 NCAA Tournaments-- advancing to the Sweet 16 five times and the Elite Eight twice. In 1998, the Runnin' Utes advanced to the NCAA Championship game against Kentucky. The women's basketball team has 15 NCAA appearances, playing in the Sweet 16 twice and the Elite Eight in 2006. The gymnastics team leads the nation in NCAA Super Six appearances with 18--all during Hill's term--and was the attendance leader for all women's sports in 2010 and 2011.
The 62-year-old New Jersey native has served in five capacities at the U., starting in 1973-74 as a graduate assistant basketball coach on Bill Foster's staff . After coaching boys' basketball at Salt Lake's Granger High from 1975-79 (he was the 1975 4A Coach of the Year), Hill returned to the U. as an assistant coach to Jerry Pimm (1979-81). From 1983-85, he taught in the University's special education department before coming back to athletics as the Crimson Club director (1985-86). In 1987, he became the director of athletics.
Hill was the executive director of United Cerebral Palsy of Utah from 1981-85, during which time he developed a housing project for people with severe physical disabilities.
Hill's awards, in addition to those listed previously, include: 2011 Utah YMCA Man of the Year, 2004 Mountain West Conference's Commissioner's Award, 1981 Milton Bennion Fellowship, 1984 Utah Recreation Therapy Association Outstanding Service award and 1996 Utah MS Sportsperson of the Year. Hill was inducted into the Jersey Shore Hall of Fame in 1998. In 2001, the National Consortium for Academics and Sports gave Hill its Degree Completion and Outreach and Community Service Honor Award.
He currently serves on the Catholic Community Services Board of Directors.
As an undergraduate, Hill won three letters in basketball at Rutgers and co-captained the 1971- 72 team. His bachelor's degree from Rutgers is in math education (1972). He holds a master's in education (Utah, 1974), and a Ph.D. in educational administration (Utah, 1982).
His wife Kathy, a faculty member in the U.'s Department of Special Education in severe disabilities, received the 2010 College of Education Service Award and the 2012 ASUU Student Choice Award for Excellence in Teaching. They have two children, Aly and Christopher; two granddaughters, Addie and Lily, and a grandson, Jack.
Aly played soccer for the University of Oregon and has a master's degree in social work from Utah. She is a social worker and teaches students with severe disabilities in the Salt Lake City School District. Christopher has a bachelor's degree in organizational communication and a law degree from the U.'s S.J. Quinney School of Law. He is employed by the Pac- 12 Enterprises in San Francisco and is engaged to Darci Motoki.
NCAA Tournament: 13 times
Final Four: 1998 (runner-up)
Elite Eight: 1997, '98
Sweet 16: 1991, '96, '97, '98, '05
Conference Champion: 12 times
NCAA Champion: 1988, '93, '96, '97, 2003
NCAA Runner-up: 8 times
| Hill's Facility Legacy