IOWA CITY, Iowa – University of Iowa Deputy Athletic Director Barbara Burke announced on Friday that she will retire by the end of her current contract, which concludes in June of 2023.
Burke has been involved in college athletics for more than 40 years and has served in various administrative leadership roles for the past three decades. She has agreed to stay on to assist the Hawkeyes in navigating the rapidly changing landscape surrounding college athletics, as well as helping provide a smooth transition for her successor. A search for her replacement will occur this summer.
“I have had the honor of working side-by-side with Barbara both during her time at Iowa and when I was at Wyoming. She is one of the best athletic administrators in the country,” stated Gary Barta, Henry B. and Patricia B. Tippie Director of Athletics Chair. “She is a consummate professional, she’s a problem solver, and she cares deeply about student-athletes. I am grateful to be able to work with her for another year and then will look forward to celebrating her career as she moves into retirement.”
Burke was named Deputy Director of Athletics in April 2017, after joining the UI athletics staff as Senior Associate Athletics Director for Sport Administration and Event Management in 2016. In her role, she serves as the UI’s Senior Women’s Administrator, is involved in all strategic planning and operations, including facility planning and capital projects and serves as the department’s primary sport administrator while assisting with the day-to-day operations for football. In 2019, she created the HERky’s initiative, which celebrates the rich history and tradition of women’s athletics at the University of Iowa and is committed to providing opportunities for female student-athletes.
“I have been blessed and am humbled to work with so many wonderful individuals, it is difficult to put one’s life work into words. I am thankful for the lasting friendships and wonderful memories I will take with me. I want to thank Gary for the opportunity to work at Iowa and am thrilled that I will be able to end my career at this institution. We have a great group of coaches, student athletes and staff. It has been an honor to represent the Hawkeyes.”Barbara Burke, Iowa Deputy Director of Athletics
Prior to joining the Iowa staff, she served as the Deputy Athletics Director/Chief Operating Officer at Tulane University. In that role she was responsible for financial and budget management, personnel supervision and management, and assistance with academics, compliance, student support, financial aid, facilities and game-day operations.
Prior to Tulane, Burke spent six years (2008-14) as the director of athletics at Eastern Illinois University. During her time with EIU athletics, she created a master plan for the Panthers’ athletic department and helped oversee growth in the Panther Club, both in funds raised and membership. Under Burke’s direction, the Panthers captured three Ohio Valley Conference Commissioner’s Cups in the five years that the award for overall OVC excellence had been awarded. In 2013, EIU won its third OVC Commissioner’s Cup, as the program had six teams win regular-season conference championships, the highest total since EIU joined the OVC in 1996. EIU also claimed the OVC Commissioner’s Cup in 2010 and 2011. The other two years, EIU was runner-up in the Cup standings.
Burke spent 10 years at Wyoming (1998-2008), serving in a variety of capacities. From July 2006, until leaving for EIU, she was deputy director of athletics and senior women’s administrator. In that role, Burke helped oversee strategic planning for the department, as well as the day-to-day operations of Wyoming’s 17-sport athletic program. During her time at Wyoming the women’s basketball team won the WNIT Championships (2007). In 2008, Burke was awarded the National Association Collegiate Women’s Athletic Administrators FBS National Administrator of the Year Award.
In addition to her years of service at Wyoming as a senior administrator, Burke served in athletic administration at the University of Texas at El Paso (1997-98), Marshall University (1994-97) and West Virginia State University (1992-94). During stints at Wyoming and UTEP, Burke was named interim athletics director at the institutions, as both schools transitioned to new directors of athletics.
A member of the National Association of Collegiate Directors of America (NACDA) and Women Leaders in College Sports (formerly NACWAA), Burke has served on numerous athletic committees, including the NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Committee (2005-07), Mountain West Conference Championship committee (2004), and Southern Conference Softball Sports/Tournament committee (1995-96). She served as Wyoming’s representative on the Mountain West Conference transition team as the new league was formed in 1998. In September 2010, Burke was selected to serve on the NCAA Women’s Basketball Rules Committee and was named committee chair in August 2012. In addition to the NCAA Women’s Basketball Rules Committee, Burke served on the NCAA Division I Championship/Sports Management Cabinet, and was a member of the FCS Central Regional Football Advisory committee.
As a student-athlete, Burke was a four-year member of the softball (captain ‘79 and ‘80) and basketball (captain ‘80) teams at Western Michigan University (1976-80), leading the Broncos to the Women’s College Softball World Series in 1980. She was inducted into the WMU Hall of Fame in 1988. She is also a member of the Loy Norrix High School Hall of Fame (Kalamazoo, Michigan; 1997).
Burke earned a bachelor’s degree from Western Michigan in 1980, and a master of education degree from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in 1984.