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Jun. 23—Mike Royster will still find himself around University of Tennessee at Chattanooga football games and quite possibly, just around campus generally this fall.

But his role will have changed.

Royster, who has worked in UTC’s athletic department for 47 years, announced his retirement — effective June 30 — on Tuesday. The university also announced the Mike Royster Student Equipment Manager Endowed Scholarship, which will “directly benefit our student managers, who have been under Mike’s guidance throughout his career at UTC,” according to athletic director Mark Wharton.

“It is a bittersweet moment for all of us,” Wharton said in a news release. “We hate to see him go, but we are excited for the opportunity for him to spend more time with his family. Mike is an institution in himself and one of the most recognizable figures in the history of our program. He has been a leader in our industry and an invaluable member of UTC athletics for years.

“His legacy is set in stone.”

One of the most iconic figures in UTC sports history, Royster spent the past two decades as the assistant athletic director for equipment and facilities. He oversaw equipment purchases and inventory of UTC’s 16 athletic programs as well as the repair and maintenance of athletic equipment. He also directed many areas of gameday management, such as game administration, game officials, promotional event coordination and facilities scheduling and use.

A 1977 graduate of UTC with a degree in elementary education, Royster became a certified athletic equipment manager in 1991 and entered UTC’s Hall of Fame in 2005.

He served on the Schutt Athletic Council, the Russell Athletic Council, the Adams Athletic Council and the executive committee of the Chattanooga Quarterback Club. He also assisted with the educational and career growth of numerous student managers, many of whom have gone on to take full-time jobs at the secondary, collegiate and professional levels.

“I have enjoyed the relationships that I have made throughout my professional career, especially those with the student managers and student-athletes who have represented this program over the last half-century,” Royster said. “It has been an amazing journey and I look forward to seeing this program continue to grow.

“You will still see me at the games, but this is a great time for me to step away from the day-to-day operations and spend more time with my family.”

Contact Gene Henley at Follow him on Twitter @genehenley3.