Following the extremely celebrated firing of the most controversial athletic director Pitt has probably ever had, Randy Juhl has been the interim athletic director for Pitt since that time. Today, Pitt found its replacement in Scott Barnes of Utah State University as first reported by Jeff Goodman of ESPN
Barnes was chosen through a hiring firm combined with a board made up of Pitt coaches, athletes, and administrators. Additional input was taken from Chancellor Gallagher, Jamie Dixon, and Pat Narduzzi. Barnes's name was first introduced by KDKA's Richie Walsh last week as one of four possible candidates for the position.
Barnes has been at Utah State since 2008, and has seen a very successful career there. Off the field, Barnes coordinated a new program-wide $2.4 million Nike sponsorship and lead Utah State into the Mountain West Conference. He helped attract two of Utah State's largest single donations ever in construction of the new Wayne Estes Center ($5.25 million out of a total of $9.7 million) and the ICON Sports Performance Center ($3.7 million out of a total $6.5 million). He's also secured five other $1+ million dollar gifts. He put an emphasis on personal interaction and communication with donors leading to the fundraising records over his six year tenure. He also was able to coordinate a private funding plan to for $2.5 million additional money to football, and another plan for $2.2 million to athletics over all.
The Utah State Athletics department has had an 84% graduation rate, and carries a cumulative 3.17 GPA.
Utah State's athletic department was ranked the "most economically efficient athletics department in the nation" in a study done by Texas A&M. They've been in the top 20 every year since that initial study. Barnes was also named the Under Armour Athletics Director of the Year along with three others in the FBS division. Barnes made $351k per year, or a little more than half of what Pitt was paying Steve Pederson.
On the field and in the arenas, Utah State has won 20 conference championships in Barnes' six year run. The football team has won three consecutive bowl games for the first time in the program's history, and made it to the MWC championship game in their first year in the league. They finished with a 10-4 record this year
Barnes has worked at several west coast schools, including a very successful stint at Eastern Washington, University of San DIego, University of the Pacific, and then Iowa State.
Barnes is a great hire by Pitt, and has shown the fundraising and managing ability required to be a successful athletic director. With a larger pool of resources and donor pool, Barnes can hopefully spark something great at Pitt. We welcome Scott, his wife Jody, and their two children to Pitt.
The hire marks the second major hire of Chancellor Gallagher in his first year in the position. He's shown a new commitment to athletics, and has shown he's willing to invest the resources necessary for it to be successful.