Mark Harlan is the new athletics director at Utah, the school has announced. Harlan is currently the AD at South Florida.
He replaces Chris Hill, who ran the Utes for the past 31 years, guiding the university from the bloated WAC to becoming a founding member of the Mountain West, and then from the Mountain West to the Pac-12. Under Hill’s guidance, Utah reached the Final Four in 1998 and appeared in two BCS games — the 2005 Fiesta Bowl and the 2009 Sugar Bowl, both wins — under two different head coaches.
“After an extensive national search during which we spoke with a number of outstanding candidates, Mark emerged as our clear top choice,” Utah president Ruth V. Watkins said in a statement. “Mark has a breadth of experience in athletics and in fundraising, an open and collaborative leadership style and a track record of success that will enable him to lead our athletics department to greater heights. On behalf of the university community, I want to welcome Mark and his family to the U.”
Harlan had served as USF’s AD since 2014. Prior to that, he was a career left coaster. An Arizona graduate, Harlan climbed the latter with stops at Northern Colorado, San Jose State, Arizona and UCLA.
“I’m extremely pleased to welcome Mark Harlan back to the Pac-12. Having worked with Mark for a number of years when he oversaw external affairs at UCLA, I know firsthand what an excellent hire this is for Utah. Mark is a great communicator, and a person and an administrator of high integrity,” UCLA AD Dan Guerrero said. “He and his family will be a tremendous addition to the Utah community. I look forward to working with him in the conference.”
Harlan will take over as Utah’s full-time AD on July 1.