USC is unexpectedly in the middle of a big transition in their athletic department after what appears to be a rather tumultuous end to the tenure of athletic director Mike Bohn. Iowa football now enters their own adjustment, but under very different circumstances.
Gary Barta, who was Iowa’s AD for 17 years, announced he is retiring and is expected to formally vacate the post Aug. 1, according to Pete Thamel of ESPN. He was the second-longest tenured department leader in the Big Ten Conference behind Gene Smith of Ohio State.
Although the program may not be considered a blue-blood, the Hawkeyes reached new heights under Barta. The football team has 14 winning seasons since he took over as AD in 2006, including a coveted appearance in the 2015 Rose Bowl. There has been success all across the board, though, with men’s and women’s basketball growing substantially over the least several years. Phenom Caitlin Clark captivated the country and led her team to the first National Championship game in program history.
Of course, Barta’s tenure was not without its share of bad optics, as the school found itself embroiled in multiple lawsuits and has doled out more than $10 million since 2010. In March, Iowa had to pay $4 million to a group of black former football players who sued for discrimination.
The Big Ten recently signed a massive media rights deal in 2022, so this new athletic director position will naturally draw a lot of interest. Unfortunately for prospective candidates, there might already be a succession plan with recent hire from Ball State, Beth Goetz, being the early favorite to land the job.
Fans only hope the future of Iowa football and the rest of Hawkeyes athletics remains relevant and steady just as it had been in this prosperous era.