In June 2020, Mark Harlan began his third year as director of athletics at the University of Utah. A veteran administrator with a deep history in the Pac-12 Conference, Harlan brought more than 20 years of intercollegiate athletics experience at five universities to Salt Lake City, including four years as director of athletics at the University of South Florida.
Groundbreaking for the Ken Garff Performance Zone at Rice-Eccles Stadium took place in November 2019, and construction on the $80 million expansion began in early 2020. Harlan and University of Utah President Ruth V. Watkins unveiled plans for the project in November 2018 with completion scheduled for the summer of 2021.
Prior to his arrival in Salt Lake City, Harlan spent four years as director of athletics at South Florida, where he spearheaded record competitive, academic and fundraising accomplishments while also negotiating new multimedia rights and apparel partnerships.
He chaired the American Athletic Conference Athletic Directors Committee in 2017-18, and was appointed vice chair in 2016, playing a key role in developing the conference’s strategic plan. As a former member of the Tampa Bay Sports Commission Executive Committee, Harlan assisted in bringing major events such as the CFP National Championship, NCAA Women’s Final Four and NHL All-Star game to Tampa Bay.
From 2010-14, Harlan served as senior associate athletics director for external relations at UCLA. Harlan left for UCLA after four years as the senior vice president for central development at the University of Arizona Foundation from 2006-10.
He moved into central development at Arizona after over a decade working in the Wildcat athletic department. He held a variety of roles in athletics, serving as the assistant coordinator for football recruiting and operations (1992-94), program coordinator for event management (1994-97), director of operations (1997-2000), director of annual development (2000-02) and assistant athletics director for development and marketing (2002-04).
Harlan’s background also includes one-year stints as senior associate athletics director for external operations at San Jose State (2005-06) and associate athletics director for external operations at Northern Colorado (2004-05). At SJSU, he launched a planned giving program that generated $8 million in estate gifts directed toward student-athlete scholarship endowments. At Northern Colorado, he played a key role in the school’s transition to NCAA Division I and the Big Sky Conference.
Harlan, 50, earned a bachelor’s degree in political science and a master’s degree in education from Arizona. He and his wife, Carolyn, have two children: Savannah (15) and Austin (12) and Cali the Labradoodle (6).