An interim athletic director for the University of Northern Iowa has been appointed, and he has a pretty impressive resume.

On Wednesday, November 29th UNI officials announced that they have chosen someone to take over the reins of the athletic department.

It was announced on November 21st that Director of Athletics David Harris would be stepping down from his position with the Panthers. Harris will be moving to New Orleans to take on the same role at Tulane University.

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On an interim basis, former UNI Athletic Director Bob Bowlsby will be returning to the role that set him up for success years ago.

“Bob’s passion for our institution and his dedication to Panther Athletics are both well documented, as well as his extensive resume of expertise in collegiate athletics," said University of Northern Iowa President Mark Nook in a statement.

"Bob was the first individual that came to mind when this opening arose and we are thankful that his wife, Candice, their children and grandchildren have agreed to ‘loan’ him to us in this interim role until our next Director of Athletics is in place.”

Photo By: Elwin Huffman - Townsquare Media
Photo By: Elwin Huffman - Townsquare Media

Who Is Bob Bowlsby?

Bowlsby served as UNI’s Assistant Director of Athletics for Facilities from 1981 to 1983 before stepping up to be Athletics Director. Whilst in the position, he helped facilitate the college's entry into the Missouri Valley Conference. In addition, Bowlsby helped increase the program's funding by 400%.

He went on to fulfill this position at the University of Iowa and Stanford.

In 2012, he was appointed commissioner of the Big 12 Conference. He served in that position for a decade. During Bowlsby's time in the position, he helped bring in BYU, Central Florida, Cincinnati and Houston into the conference.

Then in 2015, he was appointed to the inaugural NCAA Division I and was the chair of the Football Oversight Committee.

Not only did he work in the collegiate athletic space, but he also was a part of the United States Olympic Committee Board of Directors in 2007 and completed that term at the 2014 Winter Olympics.

Courtesy of UNI Public Relations
Courtesy of UNI Public Relations

“Very few opportunities could have lured me out of retirement, even on a short-term basis,” Bowlsby said.

“Plenty of people have contacted me, but when President Nook called I certainly listened intently. The invitation to help set up the next Director of Athletics at UNI for success was an opportunity that I simply couldn’t refuse. UNI gave me such a remarkable opportunity as a young professional in collegiate athletics for which I’m eternally grateful."

The interim athletic director was a four-year letterman in wrestling at Minnesota State University and is a proud grandfather of ten.

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