Gary Barta is in his 17th year as the director of athletics at the University of Iowa, where he occupies the Henry B. and Patricia B. Tippie Director of Athletics Chair. The position was endowed in 2017 by the Tippies, longtime supporters of the University of Iowa and Hawkeye Athletics. Henry B. Tippie earned his UI degree in 1949 and was presented with an honorary degree in 2009.
Barta has just completed a three-year stint as a member of the College Football Playoff (CFP) Selection Committee. He was appointed to the selection committee by the CFP Management Committee in February, 2019 and served a three-year term. He served as committee chairperson in 2020 and 2021.
Since the fall of 2020, Iowa’s athletics programs have won 11 Big Ten championships, along with claiming the football West Division title in 2021. It is the most championships earned by the Hawkeyes in any two-year period. The Hawkeye football team posted 10 wins in 2021 and earned yet another January bowl invitation.
Hawkeye teams to have earned championships include women’s soccer (tournament); field hockey (regular season); wrestling (regular season and tournament); women’s basketball (regular season and tournament); men’s basketball (tournament); women’s gymnastics (regular season); indoor men’s track (two) and outdoor men’s track.
Five conference titles, along with the football division championship, were earned in 2021-22 as a follow up to six Big Ten championships in 2020-21. Six student-athletes were named Big Ten Athlete of the Year in their respective sports in 2020-21 as Iowa earned its highest finish in the IMG Learfield College Director’s Cup since 1997.
In 2021-22, Iowa became just the second Big Ten school to have its football team and men’s and women’s basketball teams play in the Big Ten Championship Game since the football game was introduced in 2011-12.
Individually, Iowa was the only school in the nation in 2021-22 to have both a men’s (Keegan Murray) and women’s (Caitlin Clark) finalist for the Naismith and Wooden National Player of the Tear Awards.
In addition, field hockey advanced to the 2020 Final Four, football earned a postseason bowl invitation (game was canceled), men’s basketball reached the second round of the men’s NCAA Tournament, and women’s basketball reached the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament in 2021. Soccer won its first ever NCAA Tournament game and the baseball and softball teams each placed fourth in the Big Ten, as did women’s tennis.
The Hawkeye wrestling team won the 2021 NCAA Championships along with its Big Ten title, and the men’s track team placed 12th nationally at the NCAA Championships, its highest finish since 1967.
2021-22 Hawkeye Athletics Highlights
Football: Iowa claimed its second West Division title with a 7-2 record in Big Ten games. The Hawkeyes opened the season with six straight wins, earning a No. 2 national ranking. After consecutive losses Iowa won its final four regular season games and earned an invitation to the Vrbo Citrus Bowl. Head coach Kirk Ferentz has earned 178 career victories at Iowa and is the winningest football coach in school history. The Hawkeyes won three of four trophy games, with wins over Iowa State, Minnesota, and Nebraska. Three Hawkeye players were named Player of the Year at their position in the Big Ten Conference, including unanimous consensus All-American offensive lineman Tyler Linderbaum.
Wrestling: Iowa earned third place finished in both the Big Ten and NCAA championships. The Hawkeyes sold out all home meets for the entire season, leading the nation in home attendance for the 15th straight year. Jacob Warner placed second in the nation to lead Iowa’s five All-Americans, while three-time national champion Spencer Lee missed the majority of the year due to injury.
Men’s Basketball: Iowa posted a 26-10 overall record, the second highest single-season win total in program history. The Hawkeye won the Big Ten Tournament championship for the third time in program history and the first time since 2006. Individually, Keegan Murray earned consensus All-America honors, was named Karl Malone Power Forward of the Year, and was a finalist for the Wooden and Naismith Player of the Year Awards.
Murray is the sixth Hawkeye under head coach Fran McCaffery to earn first-team All-Big Ten honors in the last nine seasons. McCaffery has guided Iowa to 20 wins or more in eight of the past 10 seasons and upper-division Big Ten finishes nine of the past 10 years.
Women’s Basketball: Head coach Lisa Bluder’s team posted a 24-8 overall record. The Hawkeyes were 14-4 in Big Ten play, earning a share of the regular season title. Iowa then captured the Big Ten Tournament title, winning both championships for the first time in program history.
Sophomore Caitlin Clark earned consensus All-America honors after leading the nation in both points per game and assists per game. She earned Nancy Lieberman Point Guard of the Year and Dawn Staley Guard of the Year honors, while center Monika Czinano led the nation in field goal percentage for a second consecutive season.
Field Hockey: Iowa won the Big Ten regular season title while recording an overall 17-3 record, which included a 16-game win streak to open the season. The Hawkeyes were ranked No. 1 in the nation for six straight weeks and advanced to the Elite Eight for the 20th time in program history.
Head coach Lisa Cellucci was named Big Ten Conference Coach of the Year for the third straight year, becoming the first coach in league history to earn that distinction. Four Hawkeyes earned All-America honors, including Anthe Nijziel, who was named Co-Big Ten Player of the Year and Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year for the second straight season.
Track & Field: The Iowa men’s track and field team won the indoor championship for a second straight year, while placing second at the outdoor championships. The outdoor squad ended the season with seven school records and earned 10 All-America honors, including seven first-team honors. The Hawkeyes also won the Drake Relays Cup. In the indoor season Iowa tied for 18th at the NCAA Championships as head coach Joey Woody was named Big Ten and USTFCCCA Regional Coach of the Year while assistant Jason Wakenight was named USTFCCCA Midwest Region Coach of the Year. During the indoor season, Jenoah McKiver won the 600-meter event at the Big Ten Championships and ran on the winning 4×400-meter relay team. McKiver placed second in the nation in the 400 meters and was named Midwest Region Athlete of the Year. The Hawkeye women’s track program saw four student-athletes earn first-team All-America honors during the indoor season and had seven individuals earn All-America honors outdoors.
Baseball: Iowa baseball posted a 36-19 record in 2022, the eighth most wins in a single season. The Hawkeyes were 17-7 in Big Ten play, tying for second place during the regular season. Iowa advanced to the semifinals of the Big Ten Tournament, winning three consecutive elimination games.
Adam Mazur was named Big Ten Pitcher of the Year and was named second-team All-America by Collegiate Baseball. Outfielder Keaton Anthony was named Big Ten Freshman of the Year. Peyton Williams joined Mazur in earning first-team all-Big Ten honors, while Anthony and Ben Beutel were second team honorees.
Iowa’s pitching staff ranked in the Top-13 nationally in five categories and was the best staff in the Big Ten. The Hawkeyes set a single season school record with 609 strikeouts.
Women’s Gymnastics: Women’s gymnastics once again advanced to the NCAA Championships, reaching the regional finals for the first time since 2004 after placing third in the Big Ten. The Hawkeyes posted five of the top nine scores in program history.
Sophomore Adeline Kenlin finished as the NCAA runner-up on the balance beam – the highest individual finish in program history. She earned first-team All-America honors. Senior Lauren Guerin was a Big Ten individual champion for the second straight year.
Men’s Golf: Juniors Mac McClear and Ronan Kleu each earned second-team All-Big Ten honors, and both were invited to compete as individuals at the NCAA Regional championships.
- Hawkeye student-athletes recorded an 89 percent Graduation Success Rate (GSR). UI student-athletes rank higher than the national average in GSR and 11 teams ranked at or above the previous year.
- Three UI programs posted a perfect GSR score: women’s golf, softball, and women’s swimming and diving.
- Hawkeye student-athletes had an average GPA of 3.21 during the 2021-22 fall semester and a 3.22 GPA during the spring semester. Iowa student-athletes have had an average GPA of over 3.0 the last eight years.
- 270 Iowa student-athletes earned Academic All-Big Ten recognition for the 2021-22 school year.
- 106 Big Ten Conference Distinguished Scholars.
- Over 300 student-athletes earned Dean’s List and President’s List honors.
- Men’s & Women’s Cross Country: Teams were named 2020 United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) All-Academic Team.
- Soccer: 19 Academic All-Big Ten selections, matching team record for the second straight year.
- Women’s Swimming & Diving: Earned the CSCAA Scholar All-America team honor for both the fall and spring semesters.
- Rowing: 27 student-athletes earned Academic All-Big Ten recognition during the spring semester.
- Wrestling: Five NWCA Scholar-Athletes and 13 Academic All-Big Ten honorees.
- Softball: Eleven players Academic All-Big Ten recognition.
- Baseball: Ten players earned Academic All-Big Ten honors.
Do It Right
- The University of Iowa Athletics Department and the UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital facilitated the “Kinnick Wave” during home football games in 2017, creating national recognition. The “Kinnick Wave” was presented the Disney Spirit Award in 2017.
- Thirteenth anniversary: Iowa Football/University of Iowa Children’s Hospital “Kid Captain” program.
- Student-Athlete Academic Services has sponsored the annual Iowa Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (ISAAC) Day of Caring for 23 years, with over 250 student-athletes assisting area agencies with spring clean-up, landscaping, sustainability projects, etc. This service opportunity is in collaboration with United Way of Johnson and Washington Counties.
- Student-athletes annually participate in over 4,000 appearances resulting in the accumulation of more than 10,000 hours of community service and programming. Student-athletes also participate in educational programming opportunities throughout the year.
- The Gerdin Athletic Learning Center re-opened for in-person meetings in August, 2020, following solely remote work during the spring and summer 2020. During the 2021-22 academic year, student-athletes completed over 33,000 hours of quiet study time, advising appointments, and tutorial sessions.
- Within the Hawkeye Life Program, student-athletes gain experience in six areas which include Leadership, Community Engagement, Academic Success, Career Development, Health & Well-Being, and Diversity & Inclusion. 2021-22 highlights:
- Diversity & Inclusion — UI student-athletes totaled over 1,170 hours towards Diversity & Inclusion educational and mentoring programs during the 2021-2022 academic year.
- Leadership — Dance Marathon Fundraising – $1,500 ISAAC alone. Also held a virtual “Athlete Hour” with patients and families of Dance Marathon day.
- Community Engagement — UI student-athletes donated 2,665 hours of community engagement, resulting in an economic impact of over $76,000, with 58 percent of student-athletes participating. Local agencies and organizations who benefitted included Iowa City Animal Center, Ronald McDonald House, CommUnity Food Bank, Iowa City Community School District, and Coralville Central Elementary and Northwest Junior High School.
- Career Development — Nearly 400 students attended career related events including a financial literacy series, Polk County I-Club senior recognition, graduate, and professional school fair, and one-on-one career counseling meetings. Academic Services created a H2P (Hawks to Professionals) ICON page which allowed students to participate in virtual career opportunities during the pandemic.
- Health & Well-Being — Created opportunities such as Hawk Identity, Go Green Mental Health Game, Hawks4Hawks peer mental health support group, De-Stress Fest featuring activities to reduce stress, MYPLAYBOOK TRAINING wellness educational modules for all incoming UI student-athletes, and Dog Therapy, which includes team pet adoption.
In 2021-22, Iowa ranked in the top 25 in home attendance for football and men’s and women’s basketball. Iowa has led the nation in wrestling home attendance for 15 straight seasons.
- Iowa wrestling featured a sellout of Carver-Hawkeye Arena for all home meets in 2021-22, setting an all-time record for average attendance (14,905).
- Iowa ranked third in the nation in women’s basketball home attendance in 2021-22 (8,224).
- Iowa ranked 18th in the nation in football home attendance in 2021 (66,777).
- Iowa ranked 22nd in the nation in men’s basketball home attendance in 2021-22 (12,105).
Barta’s involvement in the UI campus and the greater Iowa City community 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 who provide counsel to UI President Barb Wilson.
Barta remains active at the conference and national levels. He recently completed a three-year term on the CFP Selection Committee, serving as committee chairperson in 2020 and 2021. Barta also recently completed a multi-year term on the NCAA Division I Council, as well as the LEAD1 Board of Directors. He is regularly involved in National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) events and activities.
From a state and local community standpoint, Barta has been a regular participant in numerous Chamber and Convention & Visitors Bureau initiatives during his tenure. He is a long-standing member of the UI Partnership for Alcohol Safety Committee and participated for several years on the United Way of Johnson and Washington Counties’ Board of Directors, including a term as chair. Barta also serves on the Iowa Sports Foundation Board of Directors.
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 (24), and a daughter, Madison (22). He was born Sept. 4, 1963, in Minneapolis.
Barta’s Administrative Career
|Henry B. and Patricia B. Tippie Director of Athletics Chair, Iowa||Aug. 1, 2006-Present|
|Athletic Director, Wyoming||2003-2006|
|Senior Associate A.D., Washington||1996-2003|
|Director of Athletics Development/External Relations, Northern Iowa||1990-1996|
|Associate Director of Development, North Dakota State||1988-1990|