The student news site of the University of Northern Iowa

Northern Iowan

The student news site of the University of Northern Iowa

Northern Iowan

The student news site of the University of Northern Iowa

Northern Iowan

Bowlsby back in town

Bob Bowlsby has been in the role as interim athletic director since his return earlier this year.

With former UNI athletic director David Harris leaving in late 2023 for Tulane,  collegiate sports legend Bob Bowlsby has stepped up to the plate to take over as athletic director while the university searches for a long term replacement. 

“The president asked if I had any thoughts on who should be the interim athletic director, and I said, well let me think about it for a little while. And when I called him back he said, ‘What do you think about doing it?’”

Bowlsby ultimately took the role, a position that he originally had as the full-time athletic director more than 30 years ago. Bowblsy started his career at UNI in 1984, and was the athletic director for around seven years. He helped bring UNI athletics into a modern era, helping bring UNI into the Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) in 1991, and increased funding for UNI’s programs by 400%.

His new role as UNIs interim athletic director comes quite some time after he last worked for the university, but Bowlsby says that a lot of things have not changed. 

“This has been a special place for me, and there are a lot of aspects of it that are just like it was when I left in 1990. The people are great, there’s a lot of good work being done, students are great.”

Following his departure from UNI in 1990, he went on to be the athletic director at Iowa until 2006, Stanford until 2012 and then was the commissioner of the Big 12 until his retirement in 2022. Along with these roles, he served on a number of committees. He was the chair of the Division 1 Men’s Basketball Committee, was on the College Football Playoff Committee, a commission that reviewed many years of Title IX and was on the United States Olympic committee, among many others. 

The Title IX commission and the Olympic committee were especially unique.

“First of all, it’s a great honor, you are appointed by the president of the United States,” Bowlsby said.

Bowlsby has undoubtedly accomplished a lot in his career, and has made a great impact on the world of sports, and UNI.

“I have been very fortunate to work with great people, and I have been very fortunate to work at great places,” Bowlsby said. “I have been fortunate that I have mostly moved ahead of the posse. These jobs are controversial enough that you can not always stay as long as you want to. I always adopted the Vaudevillians old statement, leave em laughing and wanting more. If you can do that it’s an art form, and I’ve been lucky because I’ve been able to do it.”

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ADAM JOHNSON, Sports Writer

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