Utah athletic director Chris Hill planning to retire

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) Utah athletic director Chris Hill is planning to retire after 31 years overseeing the university’s athletic programs, including the Utes‘ move to the Pac-12 Conference in 2011.

The school said Monday that Hill will step away this spring.

”His leadership and relentless drive to raise the caliber and quality of our athletic programs over his 31-year career helped earn the university an invitation to join the Pac-12 Conference – a milestone that has proven to be transformational for our entire campus,” university President Ruth V. Watkins said. ”Chris leaves us a vibrant, thriving athletics department that benefits student-athletes and our community. He has set the foundation for our continued success.”

Hill’s connections to the university go beyond his time as AD. Among other positions, he was a graduate assistant basketball coach in 1973 and an assistant coach from 1979 to 1981. He became the athletic director in 1987.