Pitt’s lengthy search for an athletic director officially came to an end on Friday afternoon as the university formally introduced Scott Barnes as the new athletic director. Barnes arrives in Pittsburgh after serving at Utah State’s athletic director the last eight seasons.
“It’s an exciting day for the Barnes family,” Barnes said. “I understand the needs and issues of today’s student athlete. This isn’t a job, it’s a lifestyle.”
Barnes stressed the importance of the role a strong athletic department plays at a university.
“Athletics is truly the front porch. It’s not the most important, but it’s the most visible,” Barnes said. “The people sitting and standing on the front porch are representing our university. We promise that is a focal point.”
Pitt’s new chancellor, Patrick Gallagher, was an instrumental part of the search committee. He asked the committee members, which included the head of the committee, Pitt administrator, Dr, Randy Juhl, what to look for in the new athletic director which included leadership, teamwork, and the ability to plan a vision and execute the plan.
“We wanted someone to represent the university and who was looking for a shared vision of excellence,” Gallagher said. “Vision without execution is a dream. We need someone who could plan, think, and map out where we’re going.”
Barnes received advice from other athletic directors across the country including Michigan State athletic director Mark Hollis, who was an assistant athletic director at Pitt over two decades ago.
“Mark [Hollis] was here. He shared with me how special this place was. We were very excited as we learned more about Pitt. The city, the sports town, the alumni base. I spoke with Mark extensively about that,” Barnes said. “Competitive excellence is a must, but not before excellence in the classroom. Chancellor Gallagher wants excellence in football and in physics.”
Barnes arrives at Pitt following an impressive tenure at Utah State University, where he was honored as an Under Armour Athletic Director of the Year for his work elevating the Aggies’ program. He has 26 years of administrative experience at the collegiate level and recently served as chair of the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Committee.
The Aggies’ progress under Barnes has earned national praise and recognition. He is well-versed on collegiate athletics issues, after serving on multiple NCAA committees and recently concluded a five-year appointment on the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Committee. He is a member of the 1A Athletic Directors’ Institute Faculty and a regular presenter for the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA).
Prior to Utah State, Barnes spent nearly three years (2005-08) at the University of Washington as Senior Associate Athletic Director for Advancement. In that capacity, he was responsible for all external operations for the Huskies’ athletic department, including fundraising, ticket sales, multimedia rights, marketing and communications.
Barnes served as Athletic Director at Eastern Washington University from 1999 to 2005. He increased the department’s operating funds by securing the largest single gift in EWU athletics history and a $3 million university soft drink contract. Barnes hired six head coaches at Eastern Washington, including four who would earn Big Sky Coach of the Year honors. His work at EWU was recognized by NACDA when the organization honored him as the Division I-AA West Region Athletic Director of the Year.
ACC commissioner John Swofford also had nothing but good things to say about Barnes.
“Scott is a veteran athletic director who is highly respected nationally, as evidenced by his chairing the NCAA Men’s Basketball Committee. He will be an excellent addition to Pitt and the Atlantic Coast Conference. I congratulate Chancellor Gallagher and the search committee on an excellent choice.”
Barnes will officially take over on July 1.
“[Until July 1] it will be like I have two jobs,” Barnes said. “I can’t wait to get started here.”
for more info: Pitt web site