Bob Bowlsby, who has served as Stanford’s Jaquish and Kenninger Director of Athletics since April 2006, will leave the university next month to assume a new post as commissioner of the Big 12 Conference.
"We’re grateful to Bob Bowlsby for his leadership of Stanford Athletics over the past six years," said Stanford Provost and Acting President John Etchemendy. "Bob has been an extraordinary advocate for our student athletes and has enhanced Stanford’s programs both athletically and academically. Bob has a deep knowledge about collegiate athletics and a commitment to integrity in all that he does. He has laid a tremendous foundation from which Stanford can continue to build. We’re sorry to see him go, but this is a tremendous opportunity for him, and we wish him and the Big 12 all the best."
Etchemendy will direct a search for a successor to lead the Department of Athletics, Physical Education and Recreation, which supports 35 varsity sports as well as campus-wide recreation, fitness and wellness programs. Bowlsby expects to depart the university in mid-June.
"I have been honored to have served Stanford University. It has been a productive and an enjoyable period of time and Stanford will always be a part of me," Bowlsby said. "The university has a rich history of successfully merging world-class academics and world-class athletics and I am very proud to have had the opportunity to participate in the extraordinary achievements of our student-athletes and coaches. I will always be grateful to the Stanford alumni and fans for making me feel so welcome and for supporting our programs in ways that helped to create the margin of victory that we enjoyed so often."
Under Bowlsby’s leadership, Stanford teams won 10 NCAA championships and the department claimed seven Directors’ Cup trophies, which are awarded to the top overall athletic program in the country. Stanford student-athletes continue to excel in their academic endeavors. All 35 athletic programs exceeded the NCAA’s Graduation Success Rate report in 2011, including five teams that earned perfect scores of 100 percent.
Bowlsby worked closely with Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott in shaping the conference’s groundbreaking multimedia rights agreement that will extend through 2024.
Bowlsby also has presided over the resurgence of Stanford’s football program. After seven consecutive losing seasons from 2002 to 2008, the Cardinal has made bowl trips in each of the last three seasons, including appearances in the 2011 Orange Bowl and 2012 Fiesta Bowl.