Mike Hill, UNC Charlotte’s new director of athletics, knows what success looks like, and he’s ready to lead the Charlotte 49ers after 25 years at the University of Florida.
Chancellor Philip L. Dubois introduced Hill at a press conference Tuesday, March 6, in the Barnhardt Student Activity Center.
“One of the attractions for me to look at a person who had served in a Power 5 conference was that he or she understood the many pieces that must be in place to have a successful program,” Dubois told a crowded news conference. “But Mike was coming not just from any Power 5 school, but the University of Florida that had assembled a nationally ranked athletic program across its 21 sports.”
Hill has high expectations for excellence, both in terms of competitive excellence and in academic achievement and preparing students for life beyond the University, Dubois added. “He shares our institutional value set — we want to win on the field, on the court or on the track, but we will win with integrity, full compliance and an authentic commitment to gender equity, diversity and inclusion.”
For his part, Hill said the job was the “perfect fit” for him at this point in his career.
"Professionally, what an incredible opportunity,” he said. “The opportunity to come here and lead a program that really is on the precipice of greatness is something I could not resist. This is a perfect fit for me, professionally and personally ... I would not have left Florida for just anything. It had to be the perfect fit."
Hill was named director of athletics on Feb. 28 and will assume those duties on March 15. He succeeds Judy Rose, who has served as director of athletics since 1991. She announced her retirement in January, effective June 30. Rose will serve as special assistant to the chancellor for intercollegiate athletics for the remainder of her 43-year career with the Charlotte 49ers. This new role will permit Rose to continue to fulfill her responsibilities on the NCAA Council and other committees and to help introduce Hill to key University alumni, donors and corporate partners prior to her retirement.
Hill comes to UNC Charlotte after a nearly 25-year career with the University of Florida Athletic Association. He has spent the last six years as the Gators’ executive associate athletics director for external affairs, where he served as the chief marketing officer and brand manager and oversaw revenue development. As a primary advisor to the director of athletics, he helped lead searches in the hiring of head coaches. These searches included the hiring of Mike White and Billy Donovan (men’s basketball), Urban Meyer and Dan Mullen (football) and Amanda Butler (women’s basketball). Additionally, Hill was the direct supervisor for men’s basketball and men’s tennis at Florida.
He also served on the administrative fundraising team that developed strategies, cultivated donors and secured major gifts. He chaired the 100 Years of Florida Football fundraiser that generated $6.1 million for endowment and created the Florida Football Ring of Honor. He coordinated marketing and promotions campaigns for 21 sports and managed corporate partner relationships with Nike, Pepsi and Gatorade.
Hill negotiated the $8.5 million naming rights agreement for Exactech Arena at the Stephen O’Connell Center and negotiated a multimillion dollar multimedia rights agreement with Fox Sports/IMG. He created the Innovation. Working Group that awards grants to employees and departments who submitted proposals to solve organizational challenges with cutting-edge solutions.
First hired as the marketing coordinator in 1993, Hill became the director of marketing and promotions in 1996 and was promoted to assistant athletics director for marketing in 2000. In 2002, he took over as assistant athletics director for external affairs and was promoted to associate athletics director for external affairs in 2005.
In 2010, Hill was named senior associate athletics director for external affairs and in 2012 was promoted to his role as executive associate athletics director. In his capacity in the Gators’ Department of Athletics, Hill served on the University of Florida Branding Steering Committee, had a six-year stint as the chair of the Southeastern Conference Marketing Directors and served on the SEC Fan Experience Working Group. He has been on the Climb for Cancer Board of Directors since 2009.
Prior to joining the University of Florida, Hill was an assistant to the athletics director at Ball State and served as assistant executive director of the Blockbuster Bowl from 1990-92. A native of Anderson, South Carolina, Hill grew up the son of an English professor at Clemson University. He is a 1990 graduate of UNC Chapel Hill, where he earned degrees in political science and communications. He also worked as a student assistant in Chapel Hill’s Sports Information Office from 1988-90.
Hill becomes UNC Charlotte’s seventh director of athletics, following Harvey Murphy, Bill Foster, Lee Rose, Clyde Walker, Jeff Mullins and Judy Rose.