University of Utah athletic director Mark Harlan was selected 2022-23 Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) Cushman & Wakefield Athletics Director of the Year.

The award was announced Monday by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics.

“It’s extremely gratifying and humbling to see the tremendous work and the achievements of our student-athletes, coaches and staff be recognized in this way,” Harlan said in a statement. “The University of Utah is a special place, and I’m grateful to lead our organization during a time of such extraordinary achievement.

“The commitment and support of President Taylor Randall, the university community, Salt Lake City, the state of Utah and our great fans make it truly a great time to be a Ute! I am honored to be part of the Utah Family.”

Utah President Taylor Randall congratulated Harlan on receiving the 2022-23 award. 

“Mark’s steady guidance has anchored a department that has endured great tragedy and emerged stronger and more accomplished both on and off the field,” Randall said. “I am very happy for Mark. His leadership style, and vision to build a culture that keeps the best interests of our student-athletes front and center has earned him this award.”

According to the school, under Harlan’s leadership of the athletic department, Utah has “enjoyed record-breaking success in fundraising and continues to see growth in facilities and in services that elevate the student-athlete experience, steadily positioning Utah Athletics as a national power in intercollegiate athletics. His focus on student-athlete mental health services has resulted in more than doubling the number of full-time staff in this important area.” 

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Among Utah’s accomplishments in 2021-22, per the University of Utah:

  • The most teams qualified for NCAA championships competition or a bowl game (8) in school history.
  • The Utes had four teams win conference championships (including two Pac-12), the most in one school year for Utah since joining the Pac-12.
  • The Utah football team won its second consecutive Pac-12 championship and played in the Rose Bowl for the second year in a row. Utah has played in four of the last five Pac-12 football championship games.
  • Another national championship for the Utah ski team, its third in a row under head coach Fredrik Landstedt, Harlan’s first head coach hire at Utah in 2018.
  • Utah gymnastics finished third at the 2022 NCAA championship meet — its second consecutive top-three finish — and achieved its second consecutive Pac-12 championship.
  • Utah earned its highest ranking through the final 2022 Winter standings in the Learfield Director’s Cup since 1997-98, ranking 25th in Division I, second among all Pac-12 schools behind Stanford. The final 2021-22 standings also saw Utah garner its highest finish since 1997-98, placing 44th.

Academically, Utah’s student-athletes achieved high marks in NCAA APR and GSR reports under Harlan’s leadership.

  • The Utes’ 93% Graduation Success Rate in the most recent NCAA GSR report (November 2022) tied for the fourth-highest among all Power Five public institutions, and tied for second in the Pac-12, while marking the fifth year in a row with a score of 93% or higher.
  • The department’s five highest average semester GPAs have come in the last six semesters, as the Utes’ student-athletes recorded a 3.329 in spring 2022 (fourth-highest all-time) and 3.328 in fall 2022 (fifth-highest all-time).
  • Utah also excelled in the most recent NCAA Academic Progress Rate (APR) report, with four teams earning perfect multi-year marks of 1,000, and nine teams earning perfect 1,000 single-year scores for the 2020-21 report released in June 2022.

Utah has experienced two years of sold-out capacity in the Ken Garff Red Zone at Rice-Eccles Stadium, an expansion of Rice-Eccles Stadium that opened in 2021 and transformed the game-day experience at Utah football games. And the expansion and upgrade of the Dumke Gymnastics facility broke ground in March 2022 and is scheduled to be completed in April 2023, and the on-campus golf training facility, the David S. Layton Golf Academy, opened in January 2021, backed up by fundraising of $2.9 million.

University of Utah Athletic Director Mark Harlan and President Taylor Randall unveil a gift to the family of late Utes player Wat Misaka during a ceremony at the Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Jan. 22, 2022. | Spenser Heaps, Deseret News