Chancellor Philip L. Dubois announced the appointment of Mike Hill as the seventh director of athletics in Charlotte 49ers’ history, Feb. 28, 2018. Hill, formerly Executive Associate Athletics Director for External Affairs at the University of Florida, assumed his responsibilities on March 15 and was introduced at a public news conference on March 6.
“I am completely humbled by this opportunity to lead the Charlotte 49ers,” said Hill. “The campus and facilities are spectacular, but what impresses me most are the people. I can’t wait to return to the city that has so many special memories for me and get to work.”
“Mike has a deep background in a highly successful athletic program from a ‘Power Five’ conference, so he has played lead roles in hiring and working with highly successful head coaches, negotiating multi-million dollar media agreements and facilities naming rights, and being on point in external relations for the Gators. But we were equally impressed by his sports administration experience and his dedication to the welfare and personal development of student-athletes,” Dubois noted.
Hill succeeds Judy Rose, who has served as Director of Athletics since 1991. Rose announced her retirement after 28 years as AD in January, effective June 30, 2018.
Hill comes to the 49ers 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. 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. He either led searches, helped hire or managed several head coaches, including Mike White and Billy Donovan (men’s basketball), Urban Meyer and Dan Mullen (football) and Amanda Butler (women’s basketball). He 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. He also 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. He supervised the communications department and oversaw ticket operations.
He negotiated the $8.5 million naming rights agreement for Exactech Arena at the Stephen O’Connell Center and negotiated multi-million multi-media 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, he 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 he 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 1990 graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, he earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and Communications. He worked as a student assistant in the school’s Sports Information Office from 1988-90.
For his part, Hill, who has a personal background with the Carolinas, sees the move to the 49ers program as a trip home.
“This is personal for me,” noted Hill, who grew up in Clemson, S.C. and attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. “This is home.”
He attended the Charlotte Hornets first basketball game. He’s a Carolina Panthers football fan. He watched the 49ers 1977 Final Four game vs. Marquette from his grandparents living room, in Charlotte. He’s seen the Avett Brothers perform 16 times (Seth Avett attended UNC Charlotte).
While Hill may see the move as a trip home, his sights are set not on where he landed but on where the 49ers are headed.
“We’re not in it to be ordinary. We’re in it to be extraordinary,” Hill said. “Gold is the standard.”
In 2018, Hill and his wife, Jessica James-Hill, were married. Hill has a son, Luke.