After 31 years as Utah’s athletic director, Chris Hill catches the bus home

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) University of Utah athletic director Chris Hill says goodbye to friends and staff at the Huntsman Center on Friday, June 1, 2018, before climbing aboard a red Ute-branded Holiday Motor coach bus to the sounds of cheers and applause after 31 years on the job.

Chris Hill won’t stop flashing “the U,” but he did for the last time as Utah’s history-making athletic director Friday morning outside the Huntsman Center.

After 31 years at the helm and revolutionizing collegiate athletics at Utah, Hill pressed his thumbs together and lifted his index fingers as his colleagues sent him off into retirement.

With a specialized lei around his neck, he pointed to his red Utah T-shirt and handed his packed bag to the driver of the coach bus to be loaded on. He hugged his wife Kathy as the two boarded the bus, emblazoned with Utah’s drum-and-feather logo, that pulled out of south side circle of the Huntsman Center.

There to see him off were Utah coaches Kyle Whittingham, Larry Krystkowiak, Tom Farden, among others.

“Thank you,” Hill said. “Love you guys.”