Stanford athletic director Bob Bowlsby will be the next Big 12 Conference commissioner.
Bowlsby will be formally introduced at a news conference Friday morning at ten o'clock at Big 12 headquarters in Irving, Texas.
"The institutions of the Big 12 wanted a Commissioner that could take us to the next era as a conference with the addition of TCU and WVU, and we unanimously agreed Bob is that leader," said Big 12 Conference Board of Directors Chairman Burns Hargis, who is president of Oklahoma State University. "The search committee looked for a candidate that has a vision for the next generation of college athletics, and his credentials and ideas exceeded this. He understands enhancing athletic competition among conference schools, the challenge of balancing academics and athletics for our student-athletes, and working with our broadcast and bowl partners."
The 60-year-old Bowlsby told coaches and staff on Thursday that he will remain with the Cardinal until June. He'll start at the Big 12 June 15 and plans to meet with the heads of all universities and visit each campus.
After six years at Stanford, Bowlsby will take over a BCS conference that seems to have found some stability after losing four schools over the past two years. It will head into this fall with 10 members, including two new additions in TCU and West Virginia.
"I am proud to have been selected to lead the Big 12 Conference as its Commissioner," said Bowlsby in a statement Thursday night. "The member institutions represent the best in competitive intercollegiate athletics and they occupy a prominent place in the history of sports in America. I am excited to work with a very talented and committed group of Presidents and Chancellors to advance the Conference on the national sports landscape. Additionally, the directors of athletics, senior woman's administrators, faculty athletics representatives, coaches and conference office staff are among the very best in the country. The future is exceedingly bright and I look forward to engaging with my colleagues to achieve great things in the years ahead."
Kansas State AD John Currie Tweeted Thursday night that Bowlsby's selection is a "home run."
Bowlsby takes over for interim-commissioner Chuck Neinas, who replaced Dan Beebe after he was ousted amid conference turmoil last year.
Neinas is largely credited with saving and stabilizing the conference after the departures of Colorado, Nebraska, Texas A&M and Missouri.
"All of the institutions of the Big 12 want to recognize Chuck's great contributions as acting commissioner, helping us during a challenging time and providing a stabilizing force to lead us to today's announcement," said President Hargis. "We cannot thank him enough for his efforts."
The Big 12 is reportedly working toward a new television deal with ESPN, and Neinas was pushing members to agree to a long-term grant of media rights to the league that would make it all but impossible for schools to bolt.
No deal has been struck yet, but that will likely be among the first items on the agenda for the next commissioner. Bowlsby was involved in a similar TV deal with the Pac-12 at Stanford.
Bowlsby is a nationally respected college administrator who was hired away from Iowa in 2006 after 15 years spent running the Hawkeyes' athletic department.
Of all the decisions he made at Stanford, fans will forever remember his hiring of Jim Harbaugh in 2006. Harbaugh built the football program into a national power, winning the Orange Bowl over Virginia Tech in 2011 and finishing fourth in the final AP poll.
Bowlsby also hired offensive coordinator David Shaw last year to replace Harbaugh, who departed to the San Francisco 49ers. Shaw kept the Cardinal on track, going 11-2, including an overtime loss in the Fiesta Bowl to Oklahoma State. Andrew Luck also finished Heisman Trophy runner-up both seasons.
Stanford's rigorous academic standards present unique circumstances, yet the school has won the Learfield Sports Directors' Cup 17 straight years. The award is given annually by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics to the program with the most success in all sports.
Stanford is also one of the country's largest programs with 35 sports, including 19 for women. Stanford sent more athletes to the 2008 Beijing Olympics than any other college in the U.S, winning 25 Olympic medals. If Stanford were a country, it would have ranked 11th — tying with Japan — in total medals.
*Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.