Director of Athletics Gary Barta
Now in his eighth year as director of athletics at the University of Iowa, Gary Barta continues to provide the UI's more than 600 student-athletes, in addition to more than 225 coaches, administrators and support staff, the strong leadership and strategic vision that is the foundation for the Hawkeyes' success both today and in the future.
Barta often notes, "Hope is not a strategy," and evidence of his commitment to planning and execution is his second strategic plan for the UI Athletics Department. The latest "road map" addresses the next five years for the Hawkeyes and is built on the same core tenets contained in the first: Win. Graduate. Do it right.
The Hawkeyes are coming off a 2012-13 athletics year that saw eight programs participate in national championship competition, a record-setting year in terms of graduation rates - 77 percent, and steady progress in terms of facility improvements, highlighted by the opening of the new indoor practice facility for the UI's football program and the Hoak Family Golf Complex at Finkbine Golf Course, home of the Hawkeyes' men's and women's golf programs.
Another example of investments made under Barta's direction that have helped Iowa turn the corner competitively is the UI men's golf program. Barta increased his commitment to the sport when he hired native Iowan Mark Hankins, who had a vision for the program that included a new practice facility. Barta, Hankins and the Hawkeyes celebrated the opening of the new $6 million Hoak Family Golf Complex in February, just three months before Hankins' nationally ranked squad made its fifth straight appearance in the national regional championships. The Hawkeyes have advanced to the NCAA Championships in three of the last five seasons.
Women's basketball and men's golf are two of the eight UI programs that participated in national championship competition in 2012-13. At the top of the list was Tom Brands' wrestling program, which crowned one national champion, had four wrestlers earn All-America honors, and finished fourth nationally at the end of a season that included a Big Ten Conference Dual Meet championship.
JD Reive's men's gymnastics team had three individuals earn All-America honors after finishing fifth at the national meet. Larissa Libby's women's gymnastics program advanced to NCAA regional competition for the sixth straight season.
The Iowa field hockey program under the direction of Tracy Greisbaum advanced to its sixth NCAA Tournament over the last nine years and 22nd in school history - a total that ranks No. 1 among the Hawkeyes' Big Ten Conference peers. Two Hawkeyes were named All-Americans.
Iowa's 200 and 400 medley relay teams and backstroker Grant Betulius earned All-America honors while leading Marc Long's men's swimming and diving team to a 32nd place at the national championship. Larry Wieczorek's UI track and field program crowned eight All-Americans en route to placing 35th at the national outdoor championship.
Interest in the Hawkeyes continues to soar. Sellouts for home games of the football team at historic Kinnick Stadium and a waiting list for access to the premium seating areas inside the Paul W. Brechler Press Box are the norm. So, too, is Iowa leading the country in attendance at home wrestling events -- Iowa averaged just under 9,000 fans per home dual match in 2012-13 - and being ranked among the nation's Top 20 in attendance in women's basketball.
Success on the court has also resulted in spinning turnstiles for home games of the UI men's basketball team. The Hawkeyes' run to New York City's Madison Square Garden and the NIT championship game included a pair of sold out games on Mediacom Court in 15,400-seat Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Those two sellouts, paired with three regular season sellouts, helped to push Iowa's total average per game to 13,625, an improvement of more than 1,700 per game that has pushed the Hawkeyes into the nation's Top 25 in per game attendance.
Under Barta's leadership, Iowa has also embraced new technologies and that, too, has paid dividends: Iowa ranks among the nation's Top 10 in Facebook "friends" and Twitter "followers." The UI also delivers Hawk Talk Daily, a daily e-newsletter, and Hawk Talk Monthly, a monthly e-magazine, to more than 70,000 friends of the UI and fans of the Hawkeyes to complement the news, information, video and photography available on hawkeyesports.com, the official world wide web site of the Iowa Hawkeyes and the UI's anchor in the digital world.
Student-athletes that entered the UI in the fall of 2005 graduated at a rate of 77 percent, an all-time record for the Hawkeyes. That mark - which uses the federal government benchmark for graduation success - is three points better than the 2011 report when Iowa tied the previous school record of 74 percent set first in 1994-95. It is also six points better than the UI student body and 12 points better than that achieved all by student-athletes nationally.
The UI also set a new record by posting a score of 87 percent in the NCAA's "Graduation Success Rate" or GSR, one point better than what was posted the previous year. It marked the seventh time in the eight years of the GSR's existence that Iowa's student-athletes scored 80 percent or better.
The GSR's for football (82), men's basketball (89), and women's basketball (100) all bested the national averages in their sport: 68, 65, and 86, respectively.
The NCAA's Academic Progress Rate report for 2012-13 revealed that for the fourth consecutive year all of Iowa's 24 sports programs were comfortably above the 930 threshold that signals a red flag for the NCAA. The highlights of Iowa's report include APR's for 18 of Iowa's programs that were better than the national average in that sport, including football, men's basketball and wrestling. The APR for Iowa's football program - 961 - was an all-time best.
As noted, Barta has been the driving force behind substantial investments in the facilities used by Iowa's more than 650 talented male and female student-athletes. When the Iowa football program moves into its new $54 million operations center in late summer 2014, the UI will have completed more than $220 million of construction and renovation work over the previous eight years.
That list of projects includes a $47 million facelift and addition to Iowa's award-winning Carver-Hawkeye Arena, a project that directly impacted 23 of Iowa's 24 sports programs, two phases of improvements to the facilities used daily by Iowa's football program - construction of a new indoor practice facility and renovation of the Kenyon Outdoor Practice facility in Phase I, and construction of a state-of-the-art operations center in Phase II, a $9 million investment in scoreboards, ribbon boards, and video walls at historic Kinnick Stadium, construction of the aforementioned $6 million Hoak Family Golf Complex at Iowa's award-winning Finkbine Golf Course, turf replacement at Grant Field, the home of Iowa's nationally ranked field hockey program, resurfacing of the courts at the Klotz Tennis Center, the home of Iowa's men's and women's tennis programs, and the construction of a new indoor turf facility.
On the horizon for Barta, from a facilities perspective, is the planning and construction of the "Hawkeye Campus." Located on the western edge of the UI campus, immediately west of Finkbine Golf Course and adjacent to the UI's Athletics Hall of Fame, the practice and competition sites for Iowa's soccer and field hockey programs, and the UI Sports Medicine Clinic, and near the UI's Ashton Cross Country Course, the Hawkeye Campus is envisioned to be the new home for Iowa's track and field, softball, and baseball programs.
Another favorite saying of Barta's is, "Vision without resources is irrelevant." Over the course of his career he has been directly involved in raising hundreds of millions of dollars in support of intercollegiate athletics. This task has remained a primary focus during his tenure at Iowa, where private support for the Hawkeyes continues to be a critical piece to Iowa's ability to remain one of a handful of NCAA Division I intercollegiate athletics programs that are 100 percent self-sustaining financially.
Under Barta's leadership -- and thanks to a talented athletics development staff - the UI has seen year-over-year improvement in annual giving in spite of the difficult economic environment. In addition, under Barta's direction, the UI generated more than $20 million of philanthropic and corporate sponsorship support for the revitalization of Carver-Hawkeye Arena and more than $30 million of support for phases I and II of the projects designed to position Iowa's football program for success in the next decade.
The UI also generated the $2 million in private support necessary to fully fund the Hawkeyes' new practice facility for its men's and women's golf programs. Philanthropic support will also play a critical role in the development of the Hawkeye Campus.
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.
Barta also represents the UI and the Hawkeyes at the conference and national level. During his first six years 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.
Nationally, Barta remains active in the Division IA Athletics Directors Association, the National Association of College Directors of Athletics, and currently serves on the NCAA Football Committee Board of Directors.
Barta is also involved in a variety of community groups, included the United Way of Johnson County and 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 he is currently overseeing a comprehensive review of the strategic plan for the UI Athletics Department and has worked 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 athletics development and external relations at the University of Northern Iowa and director of development at his alma mater, North Dakota State University.
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 (15) and a daughter, Madison (13). He was born Sept. 4, 1963, in Minneapolis.
Click on the link below to read the