University of Utah 'restructures' athletic department leadership

Published: Sunday, June 16 2013 5:00 p.m. MDT

Chris Hill, University of Utah athletics director, has streamlined the Utes' athletic administration to be more efficient as the Utes adjust to life in the Pac-12.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

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SALT LAKE CITY — Utah athletics director Chris Hill is overseeing a lot of things. There are plenty of projects in the works as the Utes assimilate to life in the Pac-12. Besides extensive expansion of student-athlete services like academic support, sports medicine, strength and conditioning programs and nutrition, there’s new construction and facility improvements taking place — as well as various upgrades in all sports.

To make it all run more efficiently, Hill has done a little restructuring in the Utah athletics department. The changes follow the departures of associate athletics directors Doug Knuth and Pete Oliszczak over the past few months. Knuth became the new athletic director at Nevada and Oliszczak resigned for personal reasons.

“It gave an opportunity, I think, to restructure — to streamline some things and to get better in some areas,” said Hill, who added that it's also given some of his assistants an opportunity to grow in other capacities while maintaining their main areas of emphasis and expertise.

The primary changes include having a chief financial officer and what is essentially a chief of staff in the mix. They’re among six assistant or associate athletics director positions that report directly to Hill. The setup, he explained, has basically been in place since February and has “really worked out well.” The oversight, as always, includes representation for each team in the program.

Steve Smith is the CFO and oversees all accounting and financial issues, as well as travel, IT, concessions, camps and vendor relations.

Kyle Brennan holds the title of “senior associate athletics director: administration.” His oversight includes compliance, human resources, game operations, HPER, equipment and facilities. He’s also the liaison for football and men’s basketball.

Senior associate athletics director Mary Bowman continues to oversee student support services and is the department’s senior women’s administrator. Her management responsibilities include athletic training, sports medicine, wellness, HPER strength and conditioning, academic life skills, gender equity, diversity and insurance matters.

Senior associate athletics director Liz Abel heads the department’s sports information, broadcast and new media divisions. A soon-to-be hired social media director will also be under her supervision.

Manny Hendrix, the assistant athletics director for major gifts, is overseeing a fundraising effort that Hill said has had tremendous growth in recent months. Jimmy Soto and Mark Anderson have added to the successful team approach.

Associate athletics director Ann Argust heads the department’s marketing and promotions efforts. She also oversees Utah Sports Properties, dance and cheer, ticket sales, annual giving and Crimson Club operations.

Overall, Hill said it’s probably the best group of people he’s ever had report to him.

“Restructure, I think, is helping us get better,” Hill said.

Although he thinks they’ll still need more hands and feet, Hill noted that an infrastructure is being built.

Email: dirk@desnews.com

Twitter: @DirkFacer

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