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Director of Athletics Gary Barta

Gary Barta
UI Director of Athletics

Gary Barta is entering his ninth year as director of athletics at the University of Iowa and his 27th year as a university leader.

The 2014-15 athletics season at the UI will build on significant momentum gained a year ago as a result of multiple successes competitively, academically, and in positive community impact displayed by Iowa coaches, student-athletes, and administrators. Last year also included record-setting fundraising support and corporate participation, as well as the completion of facility construction projects critical to the long-term success of the Iowa Hawkeyes.

Progress and success on the fields, courts, tracks, and mats was significant in 2013-14. A return to participation in a postseason bowl game by the Iowa football team, a return to the NCAA Tournament by the UI's men's basketball team, a 4th place national finish in wrestling, the seventh straight NCAA Tournament appearance by Iowa women's basketball, an invitation to the postseason Big Ten Tournament by the Hawkeye baseball team, postseason NCAA competition for Iowa's men's golf, and the UI's track and field men's and women's track and field teams, and a historic first time invitation to the NCAA Tournament for women's soccer highlighted the 2013-14 year competitively for the UI.

In fact, only six other programs in the country in addition to the UI had its football team appear in a New Year's Day bowl, and both its men's and women's basketball teams compete in the NCAA Tournament.

Academic success by the more than 600 student-athletes who participate in 24 sport programs has always been one of the very highest priorities at the University of Iowa and remains so today under Barta's direction. That commitment to the "student" in "student-athlete" resulted in a record-setting NCAA Graduation Success Rate (GSR) of 88, a mark that was a full seven percentage points better than the national average. The GSR's for Iowa's football (81), men's basketball (88), and women's basketball (91) all bested the national averages for their sport: 70, 68, and 86, respectively.

In addition, the NCAA's 2013 graduation report also revealed that Iowa's federal graduation rate of 72 was seven points better than its peers nationally and two points better than its peers on the UI campus. Paced by all-time high Academic Progress Report (APR) scores in nine sports programs, all of the UI's intercollegiate athletics programs were determined by the NCAA in spring 2014 to be achieving at a rate academically that surpassed the national benchmark.

Progress and success on the fields, courts, tracks, and mats was significant in 2013-14. A return to participation in a postseason bowl game by the Iowa football team, a return to the NCAA Tournament by the UI's men's basketball team, a 4th place national finish in wrestling, the seventh straight NCAA Tournament appearance by Iowa women's basketball, an invitation to the postseason Big Ten Tournament by the Hawkeye baseball team, postseason NCAA competition for Iowa's men's golf, and the UI's track and field men's and women's track and field teams, and a historic first time invitation to the NCAA Tournament for women's soccer highlighted the 2013-14 year competitively for the UI.

Barta also believes strongly that his staff and student-athletes contribute to the community. That commitment manifests itself in literally thousands of hours of community service annually. The Hawkeyes' efforts in 2013-14 include a leadership role in "Herky on Parade," the largest public art program staged in the state of Iowa which the UI Athletics Department executes in cooperation with the Iowa City Coralville Convention and Visitors Bureau. It is anticipated that the Parade will bring tens of thousands of visitors to the greater UI, Iowa City, Coralville, and North Liberty community this spring, summer, and fall, and a six-figure contribution to the United Way of Johnson County and the United Way of Washington County when the project is completed.

The UI Athletics Department also stages an annual "Day of Caring" each April where student-athletes of all 24 of the UI's sports teams provide assistance to a wide variety of not-for-profit organizations. The UI football program also stages annually the Iowa Ladies Football Academy. That effort has generated more than $1 million of support for the new University of Iowa Children's Hospital.

These are two of the most public annual activities of community support by the Hawkeyes, who also make regular visits to the UI Hospitals and Clinics, and local elementary schools.

A closer look at the 2013-14 athletics year reveals the following successes:

Ron Rainey's Iowa women's soccer team opened its season with eight straight victories, advanced to the championship game of the 2013 Big Ten Soccer Tournament, and received the first invitation to the postseason national championship in school history. The Hawkeyes also established a school record for attendance when more than 1,500 were on hand for Iowa's 3-0 victory over Iowa State in the annual Iowa Corn Cy-Hawk Series match.

Kirk Ferentz's Iowa football team doubled its win total from the previous season, won three "Trophy Games" - the Iowa Corn Cy-Hawk Series, Floyd of Rosedale, and the Hy-Vee Heroes Game - all on the road, and ended the regular season with victories over Michigan and at Nebraska en route to an invitation to the 2014 Outback Bowl. It marked the 12th bowl game and seventh January bowl game under Ferentz and signaled a return to the national stage for the Hawkeyes. It also came with an extra bonus: The Hawkeyes travelled to Tampa as one of just 17 bowl-bound college football teams with a Graduation Success Rate (GSR) greater than 80 (Iowa's was 81) and as the highest ranked Big Ten team participating in a bowl game, according to GSR.

Lisa Bluder's Iowa women's basketball team won a school-record-tying 27 games - including 14 on Mediacom Court in Carver-Hawkeye Arena en route to its seventh straight appearance in the NCAA Tournament, a number that only 13 other programs across the country can match. Postseason play was particularly fun for the Hawkeyes: Iowa won three games to advance to the championship game of the 2014 Big Ten Tournament and won its first round game in NCAA Tournament play for the second straight season.

Fran McCaffery continued his revitalization of the UI's men's basketball program by guiding the Hawkeyes to their first NCAA Tournament in seven years. The Hawkeyes won 20 or more games for the second straight season and climbed as high as 10th in the national rankings. The Hawkeyes' 2013-14 season came to an official close in June when Devyn Marble was selected in the second round of the NBA Draft. Marble became the first Hawkeye to be selected in the draft since Adam Haluska's selection in 2007.

Tom Brands' Iowa wrestling team crowned one national champion and had six Hawkeyes earn All-American status en route to a fourth place finish at the 2014 national championship.

Rick Heller surprised the country by guiding the Hawkeye baseball team to 30 victories and participation in the 2014 Big Ten Baseball Tournament - in his first season as the UI's head coach. It was Iowa's first appearance in the league's postseason tournament in four years. Five Hawkeyes were named All-Big Ten and three were selected in the 2014 Major League Baseball Draft.

Mark Hankins' men's golf squad made it six straight postseason invitations when the Hawkeyes were sent to participate in the 2014 NCAA Regional in Columbia, Mo. The Hawkeyes advanced on the strength of a regular season that included three first-place finishes and a third-place finish at the 2014 Big Ten Conference Championship, a performance that included the low team score for the event's final round.

Long-time director of track Larry Wieczorek announced his retirement the week before Iowa sent 11 student-athletes to compete in eight different events at the 2014 NCAA Division I Track and Field Championships. The Hawkeyes responded with all earning All-America status including senior Zinnia Miller, who was honored for her efforts in the long jump and triple jump, and freshman Brittany Brown, who was honored for her success in the 200-meters and as a member of Iowa's 400-meter relay team.

The year was also busy administratively for Barta with the hiring of a new deputy director of athletics - Gene Taylor, the long-time director of athletics at North Dakota State University who began his career at the United States Naval Academy - the hiring of Iowa City native Bond Shymansky to lead the UI volleyball program, another Iowa City native, Joey Woody, to fill the vacancy created by the departure of Wieczorek, and Dave Dilanni, the long-time coach of NCAA Division II women's soccer powerhouse Grand Valley State to lead the Hawkeyes.

Shymansky has had tremendous success since beginning his coaching career at City High School in Iowa City, most recently as the head coach at Marquette. Woody, a four-time All-American and world champion, has played an instrumental role in Iowa's recent successes on the track as an associated head coach for track and field for the Hawkeyes. Dilanni compiled a 221-18-18 record at GVS, guiding the Lakers to three NCAA Division II national championships and seven Final Four appearances in the last eight seasons.

The Hawkeyes' success academically and in competition also fueled interest in the Hawkeyes to levels matched by less than a handful of Iowa's peers: The UI is one of only four programs in the country to have its football, men's basketball, and women's basketball programs all rank among the nation's Top 25 in attendance.

Iowa also once again led the nation in attendance for wrestling and continues to rank among the leaders in Facebook and Twitter measures, and also traffic to its official world wide web site, In fact, 2013-14 was the busiest athletics year in the history of in terms of unique visitors (4.3 million) and the second busiest in terms of total pages downloaded (22.8 million).

Barta and his staff have successfully leveraged the burgeoning interest in the Hawkeyes to drive fundraising and corporate support of the UI Athletics Department to record levels. Private gifts to the National I-Club for annual giving and support of capital projects exceeded $28 million in 2013-14. Participation in the offerings of Hawkeye Sports Properties, the exclusive multi-media partner of the UI Athletics Department, resulted in a record $6.1 million of revenue in 2013-14.

These sources of income help Barta to fund an $85 million annual operations budget, a budget that is 100 percent self-generated - the UI receives no state tax dollars to operate its intercollegiate athletics program - and balanced in spite of scholarship costs that will easily exceed $10 million in 2014-15. The UI Athletics Department also is responsible for such things as medical expenses for its student-athletes ($800,000 in 2013-14), the cost of utilities to operate its facilities ($400,000 last year), and, of course, salaries and benefits for the more 200 full-time employees.

Barta has also used private and corporate support to enhance the infrastructure used by Iowa's sports programs. For example, the Hawkeye football program will move into the $55 million state-of-the-art Richard O. Jacobson Football Operations Building that includes the Stew and LeNore Hansen Football Performance Center in late summer. To date, more than $35 million of private support has been generated for this important project.

Completion of the home of the nationally ranked Iowa football program will mean the UI Athletics Department will have invested more than $220 million in construction and renovation under Barta's leadership. The list of projects completed under Barta's direction includes an investment in technology at historic Kinnick Stadium that includes a new sound system to be installed prior to the 2014 season, construction of the Hoak Family Golf Complex, the revitalization of Carver-Hawkeye Arena, construction of the P. Sue Beckwith, M.D., Boathouse, the UI Athletics Department's contribution to the construction of the Campus Recreation and Wellness Center, replacement of the turf at Grant Field, installation of artificial turf at Duane Banks Field, and resurfacing of the outdoor courts at the Hawkeye Tennis and Recreation Complex.

The work is not complete, however. The UI Athletics Department this fall will begin installation of a new videowall, outfield fence, and artificial turf in the outfield of Duane Banks Field. Barta and his team are busy investigating the finalization of a master facilities plan that includes the expansion of "Hawkeye Campus," the current home of the Iowa field hockey and soccer programs, UI Sports Medicine, the UI Athletics Hall of Fame and Museum, a new indoor turf facility that also includes an outdoor surface to be used as the practice field for the Hawkeye Marching Band, and the Hawkeye Tennis and Recreation Complex located on the far western edge of the UI's campus adjacent to the UI's Finkbine Golf Course and near the UI's Ashton Cross Country Course.

Barta's involvement in the UI campus and the greater Iowa City communities extends far beyond his position as director of the UI's intercollegiate athletics programs. He is a member of the President's Cabinet, comprised of vice presidents and other campus leaders that provide counsel to UI President Sally Mason. That group was instrumental in the UI's response to record-setting flooding that besieged the campus and the Iowa City and Coralville community in June 2008 and will be directly involved in positioning the UI for growth in the immediate and long-term future as the institution adjusts to a shift in the funding model used by the State of Iowa's Board of Regents.

Barta also represents the UI and the Hawkeyes at the conference and national level. During his tenure at the UI, he has participated in the creation and implementation of the Big Ten Network, the expansion of the Big Ten Conference and realignment of athletics conferences nationally, and the Big Ten's postseason bowl game agreements that were successfully implemented in 2010.

Barta remains active on the Conference and NCAA level. He is involved in committee work with NCAA Football, the Division IA Athletic Directors Association, and is an ongoing participant in the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA).

Barta is also involved in a variety of community groups, including the United Way of Johnson County and the Partnership for Alcohol Safety, a joint effort between UI campus leaders and the city of Iowa City.

Barta often suggests to his staff that "Hope is not a strategy," which is why the Department has just completed a comprehensive review and rewriting of the strategic plan for the UI Athletics Department and continues to work with the UI's leadership on a long-term financial plan.

As the director of athletics at the University of Wyoming for three years, seven different UW coaches were named Mountain West Conference Coach of the Year. He also spearheaded a fund-raising effort that netted the Cowboy athletics program $11 million in private support and $11 million in matching state fund.

As the senior associate athletics director at the University of Washington, he directed the "Campaign for the Student-Athlete," was a participant in the design, construction and/or renovation of several UW athletics facilities, including Bank of America Arena and the Dempsey Indoor Practice Facility. In addition to almost doubling the amount of annual private support received by UW, Barta also managed the department's external relations division, a task that included corporate sponsorship and radio contracts.

His responsibilities at Washington expanded over time to include hiring of coaching and administrative staff, and the day-to-day oversight of several Huskie sport teams.

The roots of his development experience extend to his first two positions: director of development at his alma mater, North Dakota State University, and director of athletics development and external relations at the University of Northern Iowa.

Barta earned a Bachelor of Science degree in mass communication and broadcast journalism from NDSU in 1987. He was an option quarterback for Bison football squads that won the Division II NCAA National Championship in 1983, 1985 and 1986.

Barta, and his wife, Connie, have a son, Luke (16) and a daughter, Madison (14). He was born Sept. 4, 1963, in Minneapolis.

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