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Carolina native Mike Hill at home as Charlotte 49ers athletics director
Takes over role full-time on March 15
 
Published Wednesday, March 7, 2018 12:24 pm
by Herbert L. White

Mike Hill is at home with the Charlotte 49ers.


The school’s new athletics director was introduced to the public for the first time Tuesday at a press conference. He was hired on Feb. 28 and assumes his duties on March 15 as Judy Rose’s successor. Rose, who was in the position since 1991, announced her retirement effective June 30 and becomes special assistant to Chancellor Philip Dubois for intercollegiate athletics.

Hill, who grew up in Clemson, S.C., and is a North Carolina alumnus, has roots in the Carolinas. His grandparents lived in Charlotte and he attended the original Charlotte Hornets’ first game.

“This is personal for me,” he said.  “This is home.”

Hill, who was hired away from the University of Florida, where he was executive associate athletics director for external affairs, is charged with making the 49ers relevant in a shifting college sports landscape where football is king. At Florida, Hill led searches and helped hire head coaches, including Mike White and Billy Donovan in men’s basketball and Urban Meyer and Dan Mullen in football. He also chaired the 100 Years of Florida Football fundraiser that raised $6.1 million for endowment. In addition to his nearly 25 years at Florida, Hill was assistant to the athletics director at Ball State and assistant executive director of the Blockbuster Bowl from 1990-92. 

“We’re not in it to be ordinary,” he said. “We’re in it to be extraordinary,” Hill said. “Gold is the standard.”

Hill’s former colleagues praised his skills and work ethic.

“I worked with Mike for 19 years and built a close personal relationship with him,” said Donovan, who now coaches the Oklahoma City Thunder. “He worked very closely with our basketball program and he was extremely smart, bright and an incredible person. Charlotte has just added a special person to their athletics programs and to their university.”

Said former Gators football coach Steve Spurrier (1990-2001): “Mike is certainly well deserving and has earned the job. We believe he will do a super job for the 49ers. The athletic department will continue to improve and he will lead the programs in a first class manner.”  

Hill takes over a program that has struggled to compete in the major revenue sports. The football program went 1-11 in 2017, the worst season in its five-year history and men’s basketball team stumbled to a 6-23 record going into this week’s Conference USA tournament. Alumni criticized Rose for retaining football coach Brad Lambert and firing basketball coach Mark Price nine games into the season.

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