Chris leaves a tremendous legacy of accomplishment on behalf of student-athletes and the university. —Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott
After the University of Utah announced Monday that athletics director Chris Hill will be retiring later this spring, a number of prominent people who have associated with him during his 31-year tenure leading the Ute programs shared their thoughts about his legacy and character.
Here are some of the comments that were made throughout Monday afternoon.
BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe, via Twitter: "I'm happy for Chris Hill @utahAD. He has enjoyed a long and fruitful career. The two of us have shared a heated rivalry from a unique perspective of great respect. Congrats Chris on a job well done."
Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott: “Chris leaves a tremendous legacy of accomplishment on behalf of student-athletes and the university. The department has really grown in stature and success and impact during his stewardship, and certainly in my interactions with the University of Utah, he played a critical role, not just in terms of getting the department to where Pac-12 was eager for the university to join, but since then. He’s been an important contributor to the successes of the Pac-12. Very passionate about student-athletes and the positive impacts that intercollegiate athletics has on young people’s lives and a strong advocate for the Pac-12 in general.”
Dave Parkin, son-in-law of Jon M. Huntsman Sr.: "As the Huntsman family, we are extremely appreciative of both Chris and Kathy for their long dedication and devotion to the student-athletes at the University of Utah at building a program that would be admired and respected across the entire country and did it with such humility and also focus to greatness. Chris has just done a fantastic job.
He had a wonderful and unique relationship with Jon Huntsman and Jon was always appreciative of the one-on-one time he spent with Chris and his focus to build a program of greatness across all of the sports in which the university participates. We congratulate him. He's a dear friend of our family and (we) know that he and Kathy will have great success in their next endeavors and know that he will always be a Ute."
Michael Doleac, member of 1998 men’s basketball Final Four team: “I think that’s what made him so good, is he was kind of behind the scenes most of the time. It wasn’t about him or his personality. It was about the athletes, it was about trying to provide an environment where the coaches could be successful. I think Dr. Hill tried to do whatever he could do to give us the best chance to be successful, both on the court and in the classroom.”
Kyle Kuzma, former Runnin' Ute and current Los Angeles Lakers rookie, via Twitter: "Dr. Hill appreciate it all!"
Greg Marsden, former Utah gymnastics coach, via Twitter: "Congratulations on a remarkable career @utahAD. I look forward to our hikes together. Go Utes!"
BYU head football coach Kalani Sitake, who served as an assistant coach at Utah from 2005-2014: “I thought he’s been a great example of leadership. In all my dealings with him, he’s been perfect. Honest and has great vision of where he saw that program going. I thought he did a great job. In the years that I was there, for the 10 years, I saw a lot of progress. From the beginning, from 2005 all the way to the 2014 season, I just saw a lot of hard work and so I’m happy for him that he is retiring, that he can actually spend some time away from working so hard. Really appreciate all the hard work that he put in that program and helping people like me become better and becoming good at my craft.
One thing that he did so well there is I could focus on football, and he always thought of ways to make my life easier off the field so that I could focus on what we needed to get done on the field. He’s been great, and I just wish him the best of luck and I’m very grateful for what he’s done for me personally.”
Fern Gardner, former Utah women’s basketball coach, senior associate athletics director: “It’s a sad day for me. I was on the search committee when Chris was hired, I was there when he was hired as director of development and then became AD. I was in the business of athletics a long time, and in my opinion, there’s not a better AD in the country than Chris Hill.
I just think he’s a good man and he tries to do the right thing, and he was particularly, for me, supportive of women’s athletics and the things that need to be done for the women, and I was grateful for that while working for him, just to be a part of the things that have happened when he was athletic director.”
Jerry Bovee, Weber State athletic director: “My first reaction was, ‘What an amazing career.’ Thirty-one years at the same institution is something to be very proud of, and the influence that he’s had in our state and in our business has been pretty transformative, so I’m excited for him to be able to do other things in his life and have some family time.”
Scott Barnes, current Oregon State and former Utah State, Pittsburgh athletic director: “We are losing one of the truly great ones in our business. Thirty-one years in one place is a testament to Chris’s character, consistency and endurance. I have personally appreciated my friendship with Chris and his advice along the way. He was particularly helpful as I prepared for my role on the men’s basketball committee as he had been there and done that. And during my transition from the ACC to the Pac-12. Always a guy you could count on. He will be missed by many. I am excited that he will be moving towards the next chapter of his life. I know he has been thinking about it for some time.”