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USF Athletic Director Mark Harlan Leaving for Utah

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The Los Angeles native is heading back west to take over for a Pac-12 program.

NCAA Football: South Florida-Charlie Strong Press Conference Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

University of South Florida athletic director Mark Harlan has been named the new AD at the University of Utah.

Scott Garrard, the Vice President of Radio Operations at 97.5/1280 The Zone in Salt Lake City, first had the report Friday afternoon and was shortly followed by Joey Knight of the Tampa Bay Times.

The University of Utah officially announced the hire around 4:30 p.m. ET.

“After an extensive national search during which we spoke with a number of outstanding candidates, Mark emerged as our clear top choice,” said Utah President Ruth V. Watkins in an official statement. “Mark has a breadth of experience in athletics and in fundraising, an open and collaborative leadership style and a track record of success that will enable him to lead our athletics department to greater heights. On behalf of the university community, I want to welcome Mark and his family to the U.”

Harlan will replace longtime Utah AD Chris Hill, who retired on Friday after 31 years on the job.

“I am humbled to follow in the footsteps of Chris Hill and to build on the strong foundation already in place,” Harlan said in an official statement. “President Watkins has a clear vision for the University of Utah and recognizes that athletics can play a role in the university’s upward trajectory. I am grateful to her for the tremendous opportunity and her confidence in me and I cannot wait to get started.”

A native of Los Angeles, the former Bulls AD has years of experience in the Pac-12, serving as Senior Vice President for Central Development at the University of Arizona Foundation and the Senior Associate Athletic Director for External Relations at UCLA before arriving at USF in 2014.

His move back out west comes just a little over a month after signing a three-year contract extension with USF through the 2020-21 school year.

As Nate pointed out on Twitter, he now owes $262,500 after breaking his contractual obligation to the school.

We’ll have more on Harlan’s departure and potential replacements later.