April 28, 2006
Stanford, Calif. - Stanford University President John Hennessy and Provost John Etchemendy introduced Bob Bowlsby as the next Jaquish & Kenninger Director of Athletics this morning at the Arrillaga Family Sports Center on the Stanford campus.
Stanford University President John Hennessy Opening Statement
"We are here today to, I won't say announce because the press beat us to it, but officially welcome Bob Bowlsby, his wife Candice and their children to the Stanford campus. We're very excited about Bob's decision to come be the athletic director at Stanford. He built a tremendous athletic program at the University of Iowa and I know it was a hard decision for him to leave an institution he's been at for many years. And I know, having just come back from Washington where there was a meeting of university presidents, how much they are sorry to see him leave Iowa.
"But we are delighted to have here at Stanford - absolutely delighted. And we are confident that he will have tremendous success here. Bob represents the best of professionalism and integrity in collegiate athletics. We're proud that he shares our values and we know that he'll continue that great Stanford tradition of setting the very highest standards for our student-athletes, not just as athletes on the field or on the court, but as students, scholars and citizens.
"Before I turn the podium over to the Provost, let me take this opportunity to really say thank you to Bill Walsh for the tremendous job he's done. And thanks to the coaches and all the staff members of our athletics program for their wonderful hard work during these transition months. You've all done a great job.
"Finally, let me reiterate, that when we bring people to Stanford, we take seriously the notion that they become part of the Stanford community and the Stanford family. I want Bob to know that his arrival in July does not just signal the beginning of a new athletic director, we're equally sincere in welcoming his wife Candy and your children to the Stanford community. It's a wonderful, warm, vibrant, supportive and incredibly intellectually stimulating community you're about to join. And it's a great place to live and to work. So we welcome you all."
Stanford University Provost John Etchemendy Opening Statement
"As you all know, Stanford has a proud athletic tradition, dating back to 1892 with our first win over Cal in the Big Game. Since 1980, Stanford has won more NCAA team championships than any other school. The coaches and athletes that are attracted here to this program are the best in the nation. Since 1976, our women and men athletes have also won more than 100 medals in the Olympics. Our alumni are the most supportive of any alumni of any college or university.
"Most important, the appropriate balance between academics and athletics is a priority for us. Our students are students first of all and they always will be. At Stanford, we win because of our academic standards, not in spite of them. In other words, this was a very, very important search for Stanford. The expectations are high, the challenges substantial, but the opportunities are equally dramatic and Bob is the right person to lead this program.
"So let me thank the members of the search committee for their efforts. They represented everyone from alumni to trustees to coaches to student-athletes and a number of them are here today. So thank you so much for all of your hard work. Our's was a unanimous and enthusiastic decision."
Bob Bowlsby Opening Statement
"Well, it's been an interesting three or four weeks. I appreciate very much the confidence that these two gentlemen [Hennessy and Etchemendy] and the search committee have placed in me. I am truly honored to be here.
"I have to tell you, I have a degree from Iowa, my family has 19 degrees from Iowa, we have very deep roots in the Midwest and the fact of the matter is, I have never been able to get a job outside of Iowa. So I am very please to be here.
"Stanford is the only place that I would have considered going to another campus. And I say that in all sincerity. It is a place that I have admired for many years because of the principles that Provost Etchemendy noted. It is a place where athletic excellence and academic excellence are not mutually exclusive and it is a model for intercollegiate athletics for all who care to look around the country. Because of that, I am very enthusiastic about where I am coming, but I am also enthusiastic, to be frank, about the opportunity I leave at Iowa.
"We are competitively, academically, financially in very good shape, and that's a good time to go out the door. Our youngest child is graduating from high school and will enroll at Iowa next year. We have a daughter in San Diego who will be married in a couple of weeks. We actually have two graduations and a wedding in addition to a sort of small move here in ht e next few weeks. In all likelihood, we will end up with two daughters on the West Coast, a son who is graduating in business from Iowa and is going to go any place in the country to work, so he is excited about what we're doing as well. I feel so good about the way I'm leaving my former university and so good about the people that I'm joining at Stanford University.
"As I told Provost Etchemendy last evening, I felt very good about the interview when I came out. I probably, in all honesty, would not have agreed to come out had I not believed that we would have been able to keep it entirely confidential, but when I headed back, I felt very good that there was a good fit and a good connection among the search committee members and myself.
"It is a daunting task to come here in some ways because I admire what [former Athletic Director] Ted Leland has done so much and what [Interim Athletic Director Bill] Walsh has done to keep the ship sailing in the interim, but Ted and I are great friends and we have been long-time colleagues and a conversation with him was influential in my decision. What he told me was there are great people to work with, there are great opportunities and there is still plenty to do.
"You will quickly find out, I'm not much of a maintenance person, I like to be doing things, I like to be moving forward, I like to be solving problems. I love working with young people, and that's the core business of helping 17 and 18 year-olds, who think of themselves as adults but are really still adolescents, become 22 or 23 year-old adults, and have a great athletic experience and a great academic experience as they go through their college years.
"It is with great pride and great honor that I join you. I look forward to mid-July when we can get started on the tasks at hand. I will work hard to put the names with the faces and get up to speed in a big hurry. Thank you all for coming and thank you for having me here. I will work very hard to take an exceptional athletics program and make it even better."
On the search process...
"In the end, we had a large number of candidates, more than 50, fewer than 100. We were very pleased with the candidate pool and most of all we're very pleased that the person we chose came out head and shoulders above all the others."
On factors that made Bowlsby the right choice...
"In general, the depth of Bob's knowledge and the values that he holds and his integrity were just exemplary, but it was his experience that set him apart. We saw many people who had the integrity, but very few had done what Bob has done in his career."
On his first priority when he starts work in July...
"Finishing a football stadium. That's one of the ironies of taking this job. I have worked the last five years to put in place a stadium renovation that's about $90 million and I'll never see a game in it as the Athletic Director, but I'll walk in here and have a brand new stadium that I didn't have any hand in planning but will walk in for the first game.
"But I have not gotten the opportunity to meet with staff or with the head coaches. I will do a little bit of that today and I'll begin to understand what their challenges are and I come in with no preconceived notions as to what the challenges are or what the problems are or what the positives are. I think there are great people here and I just want to listen as much I can."
On life since the announcement...
"Well, there was about a four-hour period on Tuesday when it was a little hectic, but we had been looking for a time to come back out and our son is running in the Drake Relays this weekend, so it was a little crazy around our house. It's been busy and I think a lot of my colleagues were very surprised. I think most people thought that I would end my career at Iowa. As I mentioned earlier, I had no aspiration whatsoever to move to another institution. I had been on campus 25 years, and while I continue to enjoy the challenges and rewards of being on campus, I think also there was also a part of me that might have been interested in a commissioner's job or something else in athletics, but I didn't have much of an interest in leaving for another campus. Except that this place - there has always been something about it. Some of it is where it's located, some of it is the extraordinary academic profile, some of it is the championships that are won every year and the people that are there. It's just a singular blend of academic and athletic excellence that is really very attractive."
On making the decision...
"It was a process, it took a few days. It takes a lot to keep me up at night, but we tossed and turned a little bit over this one. We finally had to resolve it fairly quickly because our children were almost like stalkers, they were calling - the worst thing we ever did was get an unlimited cell phone plan, particularly our daughters were wanting up to the minute information. It finally came to closure.
"I was involved in an opportunity at Duke University about 10 years ago, and I went back and forth and one day I was going and the next day I was staying. This process never had that feeling. It felt like the right place at the right time and after that it became a matter of logistics."