UW President Tom Buchanan Statement on Athletics Director Situation

June 30, 2006


University of Wyoming President Tom Buchanan issued a statement today regarding the status of the Athletics Director situation.

Current UW AD Gary Barta accepted the same position at the University of Iowa last Friday, June 23rd.

"Late yesterday afternoon, I accepted Gary Barta's resignation. His last day at UW will be July 31," said Buchanan.

"Gary was a good friend, an outstanding athletics director, and I'm sorry to see him go. All of us here at UW wish him and Connie and their children only the best.

"But now is the time to look forward. We have an opportunity to build on the momentum begun in the last few years. Cowboy and Cowgirl athletics can be better and stronger, and they will be.

"I have spent the better part of this week meeting with coaches, senior athletics administrators, and athletics staff. I have also done my best to respond to the many thoughtful e-mails, phone calls, and parking lot conversations with dedicated Pokes fans. Our discussions have been candid and varied, but at the heart of all conversations has been a focus on leadership and building for the future. Most significantly, I have been struck by the extraordinarily strong leadership team we have built in our Department of Intercollegiate Athletics. To a person, they are smart, hard working, and dedicated to building and maintaining the excellence in Cowboy and Cowgirl athletics that the people of Wyoming deserve and expect.

"For many years, Deputy Athletics Director Barbara Burke has overseen the day-to-day operations of our athletics department. Her hard work and competence in this regard are well recognized. And I will ask her to continue in this capacity while we engage in the process of selecting a new athletics director.

"As I mentioned, Barbara Burke is supported and complemented by a talented senior leadership team that will continue to provide the support, hard work and wise counsel that characterize the strong teamwork so very evident in this department. This is the team that will guide our athletics programs as we engage the process of selecting a new athletics director.

"I see no reason why the selection process need be inordinately long. It is as evident to me, as it is to many of you, that the pool of talented potential applicants here in Wyoming warrants serious attention, and I will encourage those individuals to "throw their hat in the ring."

"It is equally clear that Cowboy and Cowgirl fans deserve the very best and for this reason we will also "cast a broad net" in identifying the very best applicant pool possible from outside the state of Wyoming. In the weeks to come, I will appoint a select group of individuals to help me with the screening process. I will choose this group from those on- and off-campus individuals who share a passion for and understanding of intercollegiate athletics, who represent the diversity of constituents that support UW athletics, and whose advice and counsel I respect.

"I take my responsibility of hiring new leadership very seriously and I am committed to hiring the best athletics director possible to lead the University of Wyoming's Department of Intercollegiate Athletics.

"Employment as UW's athletics director requires a singular and focused dedication to Cowboy and Cowgirl athletics. It also requires a deeply held belief that the future is bright here in Wyoming. In fact, so bright that you wouldn't want to miss out on being a part of it. That's the excitement I feel about the University of Wyoming, and the new athletics director must share that excitement. We will use this opportunity to continue to elevate Cowboy and Cowgirl athletics to new heights."