Person 2 Person: Mark Harlan

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Person 2 Person: Mark Harlan (Photo courtesy the University of Utah)

(KUTV) Mark Harlan is the new athletic director for the University of Utah.

He comes to Utah from the University of South Florida in Tampa.

He and his family are excited to be a part of the Ute family.

"I think the number one thing about Utah from afar is when you play Utah, you know you're in for a fight," Harlan said. "To be around those kind of student athletes and coaches that instill toughness, care about their young people, I wanted to be a part of that."

As athletic director, Harlan has to balance business relationships and relationships with athletes and coaches.

He has about 485 student athletes to think about.

"Being around them, and providing them everything they need to succeed--that gets into the business piece where you certainly need to have investment from donors and corporations and others to make sure that they can succeed at the highest of levels," Harlan said. "At the end of every day, it's about graduating our young people."

According to Harlan, the U's student athletes have a 90% graduation rate.

He also has to try and split his time between all the different sports, including athletes and coaches, at the University of Utah.

"You try to be present," he said.

But he plans on attending whatever he can.

"It's so fun to be at these events and bring my family and watch them compete. It's great," he said.

Harlan has two children, Austin and Savannah, with his wife Carolyn. They recently joined him in Utah.

"They're just getting to know people. They just started school," Harlan said of his kids.

So far, they are enjoying their time in their new home.

"I believe strongly in what I've seen--what a great place to raise a family. And we're really excited to be here," Harlan said.

Harlan's family has been very supportive of his career.

The night before the press conference where he would be introduced as the U's new athletic director, his daughter told him "Don't forget to tell them how hard you worked!"

"It was a real touching moment," Harlan said.

His family is also excited to be a part of the Pac 12.

"It'll be really fun to have them back here in the conference, too," he said.

Harlan has "lofty goals" for the U's athletic program.

"I'm a little competitive, and I think we want to get the trophy case a little bit more filled," he said. "Everything is here to win multiple championships. We just have to get about doing it."

Meanwhile, Harlan is living his dream.

"I'm at an unbelievable school in the greatest conference of America. It's hard to imagine a dream getting much better than this," he said.

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