Hill decides to stay at the U

When The Salt Lake Tribune reported that the University of Washington had offered Ute Athletics Director Chris Hill its athletics director job on Tuesday, sports figures around campus were worried.

“I have been here for two months and that was the man who hired me,” Ute basketball coach Ray Giacoletti said. “I was a little bit nervous about him leaving.”

But Hill did not leave his staff in the dark.

“I had informed [all the coaches] of what was going on, and it was very serious,” Hill said.

The lucrative position was up for grabs since Washington’s former athletics director, Barbara Hedges, resigned from her post five months ago amid gambling allegations in the department.

Hill has expressed interest in a couple of Pac-10 schools in the past, such as UCLA and Washington, but he announced Tuesday that he will continue his tenure at the U.

“I explored the situation at the University of Washington, but determined that I am very excited about the opportunities here at Utah,” Hill said in a written statement. “We have wonderful coaches and administrators in place and I look forward to a great success in the years to come.”

The move would have been odd, considering the recent success the team has had in football, gymnastics and soccer, along with a new coach for the basketball team.

Hill has been a fixture at the U for 17 years and has taken the athletic program to new heights with different coaches, helping with the Olympics and building state-of-the-art facilities for various athletic programs.

“Our staff was completely excited when we heard he was staying,” Giacoletti said. His abilities as an athletics director go beyond setting up a successful athletics staff.

“He is so easy to get along and communicate with,” Giacoletti said. “I look at him as a mentor and someone to give our staff advice. I have been very lucky to have had very good athletics directors and I feel that same bond with Dr. Hill.”

Interim President Lorris Betz is excited with Hill’s decision, considering the job he has done with the program.

“Chris has demonstrated his skills in hiring and running a topnotch athletic program,” Betz said in a written statement. “We are looking forward to many successful years under his capable leadership.”

“I can’t wait for the fall and I am excited for the future of the program,” Hill said.

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