Iowa announced Friday that athletic director Gary Barta will retire on Aug. 1. Barta, 59, has served in the role since 2006 while also holding prestigious roles throughout the collegiate sports landscape such as College Football Playoff selection committee chairperson for the 2020 and 2021 seasons. An interim athletic will be announced by the school next week.
"This decision didn't come suddenly, nor did it come without significant thought, discussion, and prayer," Barta said. "As I've reflected, I came to the conclusion there's never a good time to step away…because there's always more to be done. That said, I'm confident this is the right time for me and for my family."
While the Hawkeyes have remained mostly stable in terms of coaching turnover in football, men's basketball and women's basketball during Barta's tenure, the athletic department also dealt with its share of controversies under his leadership.
The school announced this month that it had alerted the NCAA about potential violations within the department related to sports wagering involving 26 athletes. Earlier this year, the school and athletic department settled a $4 million lawsuit from 12 former football players alleging racial discrimination.
Barta's tenure featured plenty of triumphs, too. The women's basketball program surged in success and national relevance in recent years under coach Lisa Blunder with star guard Caitlin Clark emerging as one of the faces of college basketball. While the men's program has never made a Sweet 16 during Barta's tenure, it has qualified for four straight NCAA Tournaments and won the Big Ten Tournament in 2022.
As for football, the program has been among the most consistent in the nation under coach Kirk Ferentz, who had already been on the job for several years before Barta's arrival. However, Iowa's offensive ineptitude in 2022 combined with the cloud of the recent racial discrimination allegations from former players has cast a pall over the program as Ferentz enters his 25th season on the job.
Barta arrived at Iowa in 2006 following three years as Wyoming's athletic director. Beth Goetz, who is Iowa's deputy athletics director and chief operating officer, has been identified as one candidate to watch as Barta's potential replacement, according to Hawkeye Insider.