Gary Barta becomes Iowa's 11th Director of Athletics.
June 23, 2006
Gary A. Barta was named director of intercollegiate athletics at the University of Iowa today by UI Interim President Gary Fethke. Barta, who is currently athletic director at the University of Wyoming in Laramie, will begin his new duties Aug. 1 at an annual base salary of $295,000.
Barta succeeds Bob Bowlsby, who is leaving the UI after 15 years to take the athletics director position at Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif.
"Gary Barta stood out as the best candidate in a very competitive pool of candidates following a national search," Fethke said. "He has the qualities it takes to improve on an athletics program that is already considered one of the nation's best. I am impressed that he has always put the welfare of his student-athletes first, and that he has also excelled in fielding competitive teams that excite fans. Gary has the business acumen to make budgets and to inspire the confidence that leads to significant private and corporate support.
"I am honored to have the opportunity to lead the University of Iowa athletics program. I thank President Fethke and the search committee for their confidence. I look forward to working on a successful transition with Bob Bowlsby, for whom I have the utmost respect. I'm eager to get to know our student-athletes, coaches, administrators and the other members of the athletic department and the entire University of Iowa community. It's great to be a Hawkeye!"
New UI Director of Athletics, Gary Barta
"I am honored to have the opportunity to lead the University of Iowa athletics program," Barta said. "I thank President Fethke and the search committee for their confidence. I look forward to working on a successful transition with Bob Bowlsby, for whom I have the utmost respect. I'm eager to get to know our student-athletes, coaches, administrators and the other members of the athletic department and the entire University of Iowa community. It's great to be a Hawkeye!"
The new UI athletics director has 19 years of university and athletic administration experience. He has been Wyoming AD since October of 2003. From November 1996 to October 2003, he was senior associate athletic director for external relations and sports programs at the University of Washington in Seattle. From 1990 to 1996, he was associated with the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls, where he was director of athletic development and external relations. He also served as associate director of development at North Dakota State University in Fargo, from 1988-90, where he was responsible for fund-raising for athletics, the colleges of business and engineering, and the university's annual fund.
Earlier this year, the University of Wyoming received the NCAA Division IA Program of Excellence award, which honors athletics programs that are superior athletically, academically, and in student-athlete life skill preparation.
Barta has overseen a program with a number of significant accomplishments on the field of play at Wyoming, including a 2004 Las Vegas Bowl victory over UCLA; a 21-win season by the women's basketball team in the 2005-06 season completed this spring; a Top 20 placing by the women's track team in the NCAA championships in 2005; and a Top 25 finish in men's NCAA swimming in 2004. During his three-year tenure, seven Wyoming coaches have won Mountain West Conference Coach of the Year awards.
The new UI AD has been a successful fund-raiser, having helped secure more than $150 million in private contributions and corporate sponsorships over the past 10 years. In less than two years, he helped the University of Wyoming raise more than $22 million, including $11 million in private contributions and $11 million in matching state funds. He was directly involved in major fund-raising programs at Washington, including a $100 million plan for facility renovations.
Barta earned a bachelor's degree in mass communications and broadcast journalism from North Dakota State University, where he was also a member of the football team that won three NCAA Division IAA football championships.
PRESS CONFERENCE QUOTES FROM GARY BARTA
"The fact that my wife and I are sitting here today is absolutely a dream come true for us. I'm grateful that President Fethke has made this decision and brought us on board. From the very beginning, one of the things I was impressed about was the search committee. There were seven former Hawkeye student-athletes on the committee; that made a big impression on me. It told me how this process was being approached.
When I went to Wyoming, I took on a fixer-upper. Obviously, that's not what I have the opportunity to do at the University of Iowa. I know that there have been two athletic directors the last 36-37 years and the foundation that has been built here is incredible. My goal is to carry on that tradition and I'm honored to have the opportunity. One of the things I know is that as good as the foundation is, we can get better and we're going to continue to strive to accomplish that.
I'm a big believer in planning. My last athletic director at Washington used to say, `hope is not a strategy', so we are not going to hope to get better, we're going to work toward it.
My kids are eight and five and they are in Waterloo with grandma right now and I'm anxious to connect with them again. Right now they think they are here to visit grandma -- won't they be surprised when we tell them they're here to visit permanently.
There is so many special things about this place, the history and tradition, the fans and people of this state and how much they love this program.
The foundation is very solid here, but there is always room to get better. If we ever stop improving, then we should go on to something else. Our finishes in the Director's Cup, our numbers of conference championships or the opportunity in that special year to win a national championship in some sports, there is always an opportunity to get better. My goal is to set our sights high, let's try to be at the top of the Big Ten Conference and nationally.
I hope this is part of my legacy in that I believe you can win and graduate. I believe you can win and not cheat. And that is one of things the Big Ten Conference and the University of Iowa represent and the value systems are there. I think the world of this institution and what it stands for and what it has stood for over the years and of this conference. This is the place my wife and I circled over 10 years ago as the place someday would be the place we would like to end up. We weren't looking to leave, I was about to sign a new contract. My president was putting together a new contract for me back at Wyoming. Fortunately, he has been very supportive of me looking at this opportunity because of our personal relationship and professionally it was a great opportunity for us.
I know having a great president is critical to me having an enjoyable and successful career. So am I concerned that there currently isn't a sitting full-time president, no, is it important to me, you better believe it. I know the University of Iowa is not going to go out and hire somebody to be the next president who doesn't have the same appreciation for the role that athletics can play at a university, so I feel very comfortable about that. The personality conflict would be unusual; I get along with just about everybody. Is it important, yes, am I worried, no.
My wife and I our Midwesterners, we grew up in the Midwest, our families are all here and it's great to be home.
Bob Bowlsby and I have been friends and he's been one of my mentors for many, many years. It's probably easier to take over a program that's in dire straits and try to build it back up because maybe you can look more like a hero more quickly, but I'm not intimidated by taking on a program that is already on very solid ground and already at the top of its game because I'm someone who strives further all the time. Wherever I'm at, I want to get better. I have great comfort in knowing that this program has been in great hands for 15 years because I know the person whose hands it's been in.
I'm going to want to spend time listening to Bob about the ideas he has, things he was been working on, the status of different areas and then get in and roll up my sleeves. While Bob is my mentor and we have a great relationship, I'm going to do things differently than he does because we haven't worked together for 12-15 years, so that doesn't concern me because I know we'll have a chance to visit whenever I need to."