Barta succeeds Bob Bowlsby, who is leaving the UI after 15 years to take the athletics director position at Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif.
"Gary Barta stood out as the best candidate in a very competitive pool of candidates following a national search," Fethke said. "He has the qualities it takes to improve on an athletics program that is already considered one of the nation's best. I am impressed that he has always put the welfare of his student-athletes first, and that he has also excelled in fielding competitive teams that excite fans. Gary has the business acumen to make budgets and to inspire the confidence that leads to significant private and corporate support.
"On behalf of the University community, I want to thank the entire search committee and especially co-chairs Dr. Charles Lynch and Joe Reddington, for conducting a thorough and expeditious search process," Fethke added.
"I am honored to have the opportunity to lead the University of Iowa athletics program," Barta said. "I thank President Fethke and the search committee for their confidence. I look forward to working on a successful transition with Bob Bowlsby, for whom I have the utmost respect. I'm eager to get to know our student-athletes, coaches, administrators and the other members of the athletic department and the entire University of Iowa community. It's great to be a Hawkeye!"
The new UI athletics director has 19 years of university and athletic administration experience. He has been Wyoming AD since October of 2003. From November 1996 to October 2003, he was senior associate athletic director for external relations and sports programs at the University of Washington in Seattle. From 1990 to 1996, he was associated with the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls, where he was director of athletic development and external relations. He also served as associate director of development at North Dakota State University in Fargo, from 1988-90, where he was responsible for fund-raising for athletics, the colleges of business and engineering, and the university's annual fund.
Earlier this year, the University of Wyoming received the NCAA Division IA Program of Excellence award, which honors athletics programs that are superior athletically, academically, and in student-athlete life skill preparation.
Barta has overseen a program with a number of significant accomplishments on the field of play at Wyoming, including a 2004 Las Vegas Bowl victory over UCLA; a 21-win season by the women's basketball team in the 2005-06 season completed this spring; a Top 20 placing by the women's track team in the NCAA championships in 2005; and a Top 25 finish in men's NCAA swimming in 2004. During his three-year tenure, seven Wyoming coaches have won Mountain West Conference Coach of the Year awards.
The new UI AD has been a successful fund-raiser, having helped secure more than $150 million in private contributions and corporate sponsorships over the past 10 years. In less than two years, he helped the University of Wyoming raise more than $22 million, including $11 million in private contributions and $11 million in matching state funds.
He was directly involved in major fund-raising programs at Washington, including a $100 million plan for facility renovations.
Barta earned a bachelor's degree in mass communications and broadcast journalism from North Dakota State University , where he was also a member of the football team that won three NCAA Division IAA football championships.