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Director of Athletics Gary Barta

Gary Barta
UI Director of Athletics



Gary Barta enters his 10th year as the director of athletics at the University of Iowa riding momentum of record-setting performances in every leg of the three-legged stool by which the Iowa Hawkeyes approach each day: Win. Graduate. Do it Right.

A big picture view of the UI's success in the "Win" category is provided by a review of the Hawkeyes' performance in the annual Learfield Sports Directors' Cup competition. The Hawkeyes completed the 2014-15 season with 535.50 points - the most points the UI has ever accumulated in the history of the competition. That point total resulted in a 44th place finish, the third-best recorded by the UI and its best since the 2004-05 athletics year.

UI student-athletes continued to attack their work in the classroom - the "Graduate" leg of the Hawkeyes' three-legged stool - with the same intensity as they pursue their opponents in competition: Iowa established a record for its NCAA Graduation Success Rate in 2014-15 while again achieving a perfect score in the NCAA's Annual Progress Report.

The "Do it Right" column was filled with successes as well. Under Barta's leadership, the Hawkeyes continued their significant service and contribution to the greater Iowa City area community, took a leadership position in matters related to student-athlete welfare, and remained among the handful of intercollegiate athletics programs nationally that successfully operate in the black while also maintaining its status as 100 percent self-supporting.





A big picture view of the UI's success in the "Win" category is provided by a review of the Hawkeyes' performance in the annual Learfield Sports Directors' Cup competition. The Hawkeyes completed the 2014-15 season with 535.50 points - the most points the UI has ever accumulated in the history of the competition. That point total resulted in a 44th place finish, the third-best recorded by the UI and its best since the 2004-05 athletics year.


Iowa's success in competition was highlighted by another postseason appearance by the UI football program and deep postseason runs by the UI's wrestling, women's basketball, and men's gymnastics programs. The highlights include the following:

Iowa's "Wins" also occurred at the turnstiles, where the UI continued to lead the nation in attendance for home events of the Hawkeye wrestling program and be one of only eight programs in the country to rank in the Top 25 in attendance for football, women's basketball, and men's basketball. The UI also experienced sharp increases in spectator interest in baseball and volleyball in 2014-15.

The 2014-15 year opened with affirmation of Iowa's long-time commitment to the "Graduate" leg of Iowa's three-legged stool and the student-athlete experience at the UI: In October, the NCAA reported that Iowa's student-athletes had set a record by posting a score of 89 percent "Graduation Success Rate" or "GSR." That mark was one point better than the previous year and seven points better than the national average.

The NCAA also noted the UI had posted a federal graduation rate of 78 percent, which was also a record and in addition was 12 points better than the national average and tops among the three State of Iowa Board of Regents' institutions.

Last May, the NCAA reported that all 24 of Iowa's sports programs were comfortably above Academic Progress Rate (APR) threshold. The NCAA also singled out the UI's volleyball, soccer, women's swimming and diving, and men's golf teams for ARP scores that ranked in the top 10 percent of their peer group. Of those four, volleyball, women's swimming and diving, and men's golf registered perfect scores of 1,000.





UI student-athletes continued to attack their work in the classroom - the "Graduate" leg of the Hawkeyes' three-legged stool - with the same intensity as they pursue their opponents in competition: Iowa established a record for its NCAA Graduation Success Rate in 2014-15 while again achieving a perfect score in the NCAA's Annual Progress Report.


The 2014-15 college basketball season ended not only with the UI being one of a handful of institutions nationally which had both of its program participate in their national championship, but also with the UI being the only school in the country with multiple academic All-Americans: Samantha Logic and Ally Disterhoft in women's basketball and Mike Gesell in men's basketball. The Hawkeyes also boasted an academic All-Americans in football (senior RB Mark Weisman), in addition to 153 academic All-Big Ten selections across its 24 sports programs.

"Doing it Right" for Barta and the more than 225 staff of the UI Athletics Department is a charge that encompasses a long and varied list of responsibilities, including maintaining the department's status as one of a handful of intercollegiate athletics programs nationally that successfully operates its sports programs and auxiliary enterprises in a fiscally responsible manner, and without any institutional or taxpayer financial support. The UI provides a superior experience for the more than 650 talented student-athletes who participate in the program annually, and the more than million friends and fans of the Hawkeyes and the UI who attend athletics events on the UI campus, while being responsible and productive citizens of the greater Iowa City and University of Iowa community.

In 2015-16, Barta will be responsible for an annual operating budget that will exceed $90 million, with 100 percent of the revenue side of that budget will be generated by the UI Athletics Department. The majority of that revenue will come as a result of success in traditional revenue sources: Income as a result of membership in the Big Ten Conference, sales of tickets to events on the UI campus, and donations to the National I-Club.

The latter has grown into a critical piece of the financial pie managed by Barta, as evidenced by back-to-back years of record-setting fundraising support exceeding $28 million annually. That philanthropic support has been critical to the a long list of athletics facilities that have either been built or renovated during Barta's first nine years on campus.

The list includes construction of the recently-completed $55 million home of Iowa's football program, the Stew and LeNore Hansen Football Performance Center, $47 million revitalization of Carver-Hawkeye Arena, installation of a new videowall and video ribbon board at Kinnick Stadium, installation of a new video scoreboard and playing surface at Duane Banks Field, construction of a new indoor turf facility, renovation of the practice space inside the UI Fieldhouse used by the UI's women's and men's gymnastics teams, construction of the Hoak Family Golf Facility, turf replacement at Grant Field, the home of Iowa's nationally ranked field hockey program, and resurfacing of the Klotz Tennis Center, to name a few.

Iowa's contributions to the greater Iowa City community go far beyond the multi-million dollars of economic impact generated as a result of the staging of hundreds of regular season, postseason and special events annually. Barta and UI student-athletes, coaches, and staff are also active citizens, logging hundreds of hours of community service and also spearheading efforts to support a wide variety of causes ranging from construction of the UI's new Children's Hospital to the UI's extremely successful Dance Marathon to Coaches vs. Cancer.

Iowa's annual "Day of Caring" serves as the foundation upon which all these outreach activities rest. Now in its 20th year of existence, the Day of Caring happens each April and typically involves representatives of most, if not all, of Iowa's sports programs who provide a wide variety of assistance to an equally wide variety of not-for-profit organizations that service the greater Iowa City community.

"Doing it Right" also encompasses efforts aimed at improving the student-athlete experience. The UI Athletics Department invested more than $1.7 million directly into food cost for its student-athletes in 2014-15 in response to NCAA legislation aimed at providing a higher quality student-athlete experience. In 2015-16, that commitment will continue and will be complemented by increases to the value of the scholarships awarded the UI's student-athletes as part of the NCAA's effort to fully address cost of attendance.

Providing the resources for the UI's student-athletes and coaches to be successful is a priority for Barta and his senior management team. That process includes state-of-the-art facilities, which is why Barta enters the 2015-16 year working closely with institutional leadership on the finalization of a comprehensive master plan for the facilities available to the Hawkeyes.

The plan would include a comprehensive review of the north grandstand of historic Kinnick Stadium; study of the feasibility of a student-athlete dormitory and dining facility of the west side of the UI campus; a comprehensive review of Carver-Hawkeye Arena including, specifically, the scoreboards and videowalls, the creation of a main entrance and "Wall of Honor" and other enhancements to the fan experience; Phase III of the revitalization of Duane Banks Field; a comprehensive review of Finkbine Golf Course and, specifically, the clubhouse; a comprehensive review of the Gerdin Athletics Learning Center; and, development of the "Hawkeye Campus" on the western edge of the UI campus, a project that could include new or renovated facilities for indoor and outdoor track and field, softball, volleyball, gymnastics, soccer, field hockey, and tennis.

Barta's involvement in the UI campus and the greater Iowa City communities extends 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 the UI's president. 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 responds to the expectations of the residents of the state, members of the state legislature, and the State of Iowa Board of Regents.

Barta also represents the UI and the Hawkeyes at the conference and national level as a member of the Rose Bowl Management Committee and the College Football Playoff Advisory Committee. 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).





The "Do it Right" column was filled with successes as well. Under Barta's leadership, the Hawkeyes continued their significant service and contribution to the greater Iowa City area community, took a leadership position in matters related to student-athlete welfare, and remained among the handful of intercollegiate athletics programs nationally that successfully operate in the black while also maintaining its status as 100 percent self-supporting.


Barta is also involved in a variety of community groups, including the United Way of Johnson and Washington Counties 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 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 Wyoming 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 funds.

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 Washington 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 Washington, 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 North Dakota State 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 (17) and a daughter, Madison (15). He was born Sept. 4, 1963, in Minneapolis.


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