It’s official: Stanford’s Bowlsby named new Big 12 commish

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Following up on reports that first began to surface late Wednesday night, the Big 12 officially announced Thursday that Bob Bowlsby has been named as the conference’s new commissioner.

An introductory press conference will be held Friday at 11 a.m. ET, with Bowlsby officially assuming the position June 15.

“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,” Big 12 Conference Board of Directors Chairman and Oklahoma State president Burns Hargis said in a statement. “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

Bowlsby, who took over as the Cardinal’s AD in 2006 after spending the previous 15 years in the the same job at Iowa, will replace Chuck Neinas, who was brought in on an interim basis after the firing/resignation of Dan Beebe last September.  He will become the fourth commissioner in the Big 12’s 16-year history.

“I am proud to have been selected to lead the Big 12 Conference as its Commissioner,” Bowlsby stated. “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.

During Bowlsby’s time at the school, Stanford teams won 10 NCAA championships and the athletic department claimed seven Directors’ Cup trophies, which are awarded to the top overall athletic program in the country.

A search for Bowlsby’s replacement will be directed by Stanford Provost and Acting President John Etchemendy.

“We’re grateful to Bob Bowlsby for his leadership of Stanford Athletics over the past six years,” Etchemendy said. “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.”