Gary Barta is in his 14th 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 recently endowed 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 is in his first year 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 is serving a three-year term.
In 2018-19 Iowa Athletics earned four Big Ten championships: men’s track and field, men’s gymnastics regular season (tie), wrestling regular season (tie), and women’s basketball tournament. Iowa placed 38th in the Learfield IMG College Directors’ Cup standings, its highest ranking since 2000 (29th).
2018-19 Hawkeye Athletics Highlights
Football: Iowa football closed the season with a win over #18 Mississippi State in the 2019 Outback Bowl, posting its ninth win of the season. Iowa football has earned eight or more wins in each of the last four seasons. The Hawkeyes have won 37 games over the past four seasons, matching the third-best three-year win total in school history. Head coach Kirk Ferentz has earned 152 career victories at Iowa, becoming the winningest football coach in school history. Along with the Outback Bowl victory, Iowa also won three of four rivalry trophy games. Three Hawkeye players were named Player of the Year at their position in the Big Ten Conference, while tight end T.J. Hockenson earned the John Mackey Award as the top tight end in the nation.
Women’s Basketball: Iowa made history in 2018-19, earning the program’s first Elite Eight appearance since 1993. Head coach Lisa Bluder led the Hawkeyes to a 29-7 overall record, matching a program-record for most wins in a single season. Iowa also won its first Big Ten Tournament title since 2001, defeating Indiana, Rutgers, and No. 8 Maryland on consecutive days in Indianapolis. The Hawkeyes ended the year ranked in the top-15 nationally in seven categories: field goal percentage (1st; 51.5), assists per game (2nd; 21.5), total assists (3rd; 775), and assist/turnover ratio (4th; 1.55). Following the season, Bluder was named the Naismith College Coach of the Year, and senior Megan Gustafson earned Consensus National Player of the Year (Naismith, USBWA, AP, ESPNW) recognition.
Men’s Basketball: Head coach Fran McCaffery has led Iowa to postseason tournaments seven of the last eight seasons (4 NCAA, 3 NIT). This past season the Hawkeyes amassed 23 victories, the program’s second-highest total in 13 seasons, and won an NCAA Tournament game for the third time in five years. Iowa recorded five wins over ranked opponents with only one senior on its squad, a total that matched the most by an Iowa team in 13 seasons. McCaffery coached four Hawkeyes to postseason recognition in 2018-19: Tyler Cook earned second-team All-Big Ten laurels, Jordan Bohannon was named to third-team all-conference, Luka Garza was an honorable mention selection, while Joe Wieskamp became the sixth Hawkeye since 2010 to be voted to the All-Big Ten Freshman Team. McCaffery and the Hawkeyes have registered first-division finishes in the Big Ten six of the last seven seasons; only Michigan State (7) has more upper-division finishes than Iowa (6) and Wisconsin (6) during that span.
Wrestling: The Hawkeyes placed fourth at the NCAA Championships, earning one individual national title and crowing six All-Americans. It marked the 11th time in the last 12 years the Hawkeyes won a team trophy at the national tournament. Sophomore Spencer Lee won the 125-pound NCAA title. Sophomore Alex Marinelli won the 165-pound Big Ten championship. Marinelli, redshirt freshman Jacob Warner, sophomores Austin DeSanto and Kaleb Young, and junior Pat Lugo also earned All-America honors. The Hawkeyes won the Dan Gable Traveling Trophy for the ninth consecutive year by running their win streak against Iowa State to 15 duals. Iowa shared the Big Ten regular-season championship and led the nation in attendance for the 13th straight year.
Rowing: Sixth-year head coach Andrew Carter led Iowa to its third consecutive NCAA Championships appearance in 2019, placing 13th overall with 63 points. Carter guided Iowa’s I Varsity Eight to its highest national finish in program history with a 9th place finish in the country. At the Big Ten Championships, the Hawkeyes named three All-Big Ten honorees in Contessa Harold (first-team), Hunter Koenigsfeld (second-team), and Hannah Greenlee (second-team). The Hawkeyes have been nationally ranked a program-best 29 straight weeks, peaking at No. 8.
Field Hockey: Iowa reached the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2012. Fifth-year head coach Lisa Cellucci guided Iowa to a 14-7 overall record, marking the most wins for the program since 2011. Five Hawkeyes earned postseason awards, including two All-America honorees in sophomore Maddy Murphy (third-team) and junior Katie Birch (second-team). Following the season, Iowa’s coaching staff was named the West Region Coaching Staff of the Year.
Track & Field: The University of Iowa track and field team closed the 2019 outdoor season with the men’s Big Ten title, three individual titles, and one relay title. The Hawkeyes had seven first-team All-Big Ten honorees and added six second-team All-Big Ten selections. Junior Laulauga Tausaga won Iowa’s first individual NCAA Outdoor Championship title in 34 years when she threw a school-record discus mark, leading the Hawkeyes to their second consecutive top-25 finish. Tausaga recorded three of the Hawkeyes seven school records, including discus, shot put, and hammer. Tausaga was named USTFCCCA Midwest Region Female Field Athlete of the Year, Big Ten Female Field Athlete of the Year, and Big Ten Female Field Athlete of the Championships, and director of track and field Joey Woody was named USTFCCCA Midwest Region Men’s Head Coach of the Year and Big Ten Men’s Coach of the Year. Individual Hawkeyes made movement on the all-time record list 49 times (25 women and 24 men). The women won their first Hy-Vee Cup at the Drake Relays, bringing home the Hawkeyes’ third trophy in as many years (men 2017, 2018).
Men’s Gymnastics: The Hawkeyes garnered three upset wins during the Big Ten regular season (No. 3 Michigan, No. 7 Nebraska, No. 5 Penn State) to clinch a share of the first-ever Big Ten regular-season title. Three Hawkeyes earned All-America honors in 2019, including senior Jake Brodarzon, freshman Stewart Brown, and junior Andrew Herrador. Head coach JD Reive earned Central Region Head Coach of the Year, while assistant coaches Tom Buese and Ben Ketelsen captured Central Region Assistant Coaches of the Year honors.
Baseball: Rick Heller and the Iowa baseball team posted its sixth straight 30-win season, finishing 31-24 in 2019. The Hawkeyes qualified for the Big Ten Tournament for a record sixth straight season. Junior Grant Leonard broke the single-season saves record with 14, and senior Cole McDonald became the third straight Iowa Friday night starter to be taken in the top-16 rounds of the MLB First-Year Player Draft.
Swimming & Diving: The Iowa men’s swimming and diving team had five NCAA Championships qualifiers.
Men’s Golf: The men’s golf team, under fifth-year head coach Tyler Stith, advanced to NCAA postseason play for the 10th time in 11 seasons. Junior Alex Schaake became the third Hawkeye to be named men’s golf Big Ten Player of the Year. Schaake and junior Benton Weinberg were All-Big Ten and Ping All-Midwest Region honorees.
• Hawkeye student-athletes set all-time highs with a 90 percent Graduation Success Rate (GSR) and 76 percent Federal Graduation Rate (FGR) for a four-class average. UI student-athletes rank higher than the national average in GSR and FGR.
• Seven UI programs posted a perfect GSR score: soccer, women’s swimming, field hockey, men’s golf, volleyball, women’s golf, and women’s gymnastics.
• Hawkeye student-athletes have an average GPA of 3.0 in each of the last four academic years.
• Iowa has the fourth-highest GSR in the Big Ten Conference. Iowa’s GSR was among the top five scores within the Big Ten Conference the past two years.
• Over 200 Iowa student-athletes earned Academic All-Big Ten recognition for the 2018-19 school year.
• Fifty-eight Big Ten Conference Distinguished Scholars
• Over 300 student-athletes earned Dean’s List and President’s List honors.
• Football: Junior Anthony Nelson earned second-team Academic All-America honors.
• Field Hockey: Earned the 2018 Zag Field Hockey/NFHCA Division I National Academic Team Award. A program-record 11 Hawkeyes were named to the 2018 Zag Field Hockey/NFHCA Division I National Academic Squad. Junior Isabella Solaroli was named a 2018 Zag Field Hockey/NFHCA Division I Scholar of Distinction. • Men’s & Women’s Cross Country: Teams were named 2018 USTFCCCA All-Academic Team.
• Rowing: Amassed 18 Dean’s List honorees, including four President’s List student-athletes for spring 2019. In the fall of 2018, Iowa had 33 student-athletes named to the Dean’s List, with three named to the President’s List. • Women’s Soccer: Team earned the NSCAA Team Academic Award. Two student-athletes – Kaleigh Haus and Hannah Drkulec – were Google Cloud Academic All-Americans, becoming the first two Academic All-American selections in program history.
• Women’s Swimming & Diving: Team named a CSCAA Scholar All-America team and seven student-athletes earned CSCAA honorable mention Scholar All-America honors.
• Wrestling’s Spencer Lee, Alex Marinelli, Jacob Warner, and Kaleb Young were named NWCA Academic All-Americans.
• Women’s Gymnastics: Eight student-athletes named to the Dean’s List in fall 2018, with six additional honorees during the spring semester.
Do It Right
• UI Athletics Department: 100 percent self-sustaining financially; no tax dollars or institutional funding.
• 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 with the Disney Spirit Award in 2017.
• Eleventh anniversary: Iowa Football/University of Iowa Children’s Hospital “Kid Captain” program
• Student-Athlete Academic Services has sponsored the annual ISAAC Day of Caring for 21 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 participate in several service and educational programming opportunities throughout the year.
• 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. 2018-19 highlights:
Diversity & Inclusion — Annual Town Hall meeting with all student-athletes on the subject of being champions of respect, inclusion, and equality within athletics.
• Leadership – – ISAAC secured a liaison position within UI Student Government (UISG). Student-athletes now have a voice within this group.
• Community Engagement – – the Hawkeye 5 program was created to encourage all student-athletes to participate in at least five hours of community service each semester. In 2018-2019, 139 student-athletes achieved Hawkeye 5.
• Career Development – – the Hawks to Professionals (H2P) summer job shadowing program continues to offer experiential learning opportunities for student-athletes during an eight-week shadowing experience and lecture series. Over 40 student-athletes from various sports participate each summer.
• Health & Well-Being – – the ISAAC Health & Well-Being and Academic Success committees collaborated with Sport Psychology and Sports Nutrition to offer “De-Stress Fest” – stress relief activities such as massages, yoga, and therapy dogs, as well as healthy snacks during finals week in May.
• Dance Marathon – – Annual event now includes “athlete hour” where 100 student-athletes visit with children and their families during the Big Event. ISAAC and student-athletes raised over $2400 for Dance Marathon in 2018-19.
Fan Support • In 2018-19, 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 13 straight seasons.
• Iowa led the nation in wrestling home attendance in 2018-19 (8,526).
• Iowa ranked ninth in the nation in women’s basketball home attendance in 2018-19 (6,665).
• Iowa ranked 21st in the nation in football home attendance in 2018 (68,043). • Iowa ranked 23rd in the nation in men’s basketball home attendance in 2018-19 (12,869).
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 that provide counsel to the UI’s president.
Barta remains active at the conference and national level. He serves on the NCAA DI Council, the NCAA Ad Hoc Committee on Sports Wagering, and the College Football Playoff Selection Committee. He is also regularly involved in NACDA (National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics) and LEAD1 (formerly known as the Division 1A Athletic Directors Association).
From a community standpoint, Barta recently served on the United Way of Johnson & Washington Counties Board of Directors. He is a long-standing member of the UI Partnership for Alcohol Safety Committee and has been a regular participant in numerous Chamber and Convention & Visitors Bureau initiatives during his tenure.
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 wife, Connie, have a son, Luke (21), and a daughter, Madison (19). He was born on September 4, 1963, in Minneapolis.