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PRESS RELEASE: Gene Taylor leaving NDSU for Iowa

by Mike McFeely

IOWA CITY, Iowa Long-time intercollegiate athletics administrator Gene Taylor has been selected as the deputy director for the intercollegiate athletics program at the University of Iowa. Taylor will remain the athletic director at North Dakota State through the month of July.

Taylor has worked in athletics administration for more than 28 years and is currently the director of athletics at North Dakota State University where he guided NDSU through the transition from NCAA Division II to NCAA Division I.

During his 13 years as athletics director, NDSU has produced 64 CoSIDA Academic All-America awards, three NCAA Woman of the Year nominees, four NCAA Championships Elite 89 student-athletes, and 18 NCAA Post-Graduate Scholarship winners.

Taylor has engineered double-digit growth in NDSU's development efforts and triple-digit growth in its corporate partners program. He is currently overseeing a $41 million capital campaign for renovation of NDSU's basketball arena, administration offices, locker rooms, and indoor track and field facility. NDSU recently completed a $3.5 million renovation of its football administrative space and locker room complex.

Competitively, NDSU has won the last three national championships at the Football Championship Subdivision level of play, achieved a 7-3 record over Football Bowl Subdivision teams a record that includes four wins over Bowl Championship Series opponents. NDSU has won 57 conference championships since 2007-08, a total that includes nine championships in 2013-14.

The 2013-14 NDSU men's basketball team posted a 26-7 record, won the Summit League regular season and post-season tournament championships, and advanced to the third round of the 2014 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament by beating Oklahoma. NDSU's volleyball and softball teams have also been regular participants in NCAA post-season competition with softball advancing to the 2009 Super Regional.

"I would like to thank Gary Barta for this exciting opportunity to be a part of Hawkeye Athletics and the University of Iowa. I have a tremendous amount of respect for Gary, the athletic program and the University. Other than the difference in size, the two share a number of similarities including the very high priority put on student-athlete success athletically, academically, and doing things the right way. I look forward to working with the athletic staff and coaches."

"I need to thank (NDSU) President (Dean) Bresciani for his leadership and support the last four years. He has been a great source of strength for me both personally and professionally and our athletic program. I am happy to call him a friend to me and my family and will miss working with him," Taylor added.

"I have been very fortunate to work with an extremely talented and dedicated coaching staff, administrative staff, directors, and support staff. There are the best a person could ever ask to work with and have been critical to the success we have enjoyed the last several years. It has been an honor and privilege to work amongst the best in the industry. Whoever will be the next director of athletics will be coming to work every day with people that will make their job easy.

"I have also had the pleasure to watch an extremely talented and committed group of male and female student-athletes the last 13 years," Taylor continued.

"I have thoroughly enjoyed seeing them prepare and compete at a high level. They represent NDSU against the best in the nation and make us very proud with their outstanding success athletically and academically."

Taylor was recruited to North Dakota State from the United States Naval Academy where he began his career in 1986 as an administrative assistant for business. He held several positions in the ticket office and ticket and business operations before serving as assistant athletics director for internal operations, a position which included responsibility over the department budget, supervision of eight sport programs, coordination of football team travel, and event management.

"Gene Taylor is highly respected across the country and has been a leader in college athletics for more than quarter of a century. He shares the values of Iowa and will comfortably fit the Hawkeye culture," said Gary Barta, the UI's director of athletics.

As the deputy director of athletics a new position at the UI but a fixture at many of the UI's peer institutions nationally Taylor will be responsible for administrative oversight for the athletic department's day-to-day operations. He will also supervise of select UI sports programs and will serve as the primary departmental decision-maker in the absence of the director.

More specifically, Taylor will serve as the primary advisor to the director of athletics, oversee implementation of the department's strategic plan, provide vision and leadership in the formulation and implementation of departmental policy, and will oversee the department's financial, information technology, and human resources operations. He will serve as a member of the department's senior management team that provides strategic leadership and direction to the UI's 24 sports programs.

The hiring of Taylor comes on the heels of the retirement of Mark Abbott, a long-time member of the senior staff. Abbott's retirement is the first of several that will involve a member of the department's senior staff in the immediate future.

"Mark's retirement, paired with the plans of other senior staff approaching retirement age and the shifting landscape of intercollegiate athletics at the conference level and nationally, provided a window of opportunity to evaluate how we are currently structured administratively and to envision the best structure for the UI Athletics Department moving forward," Barta said.

"The creation of the deputy director position was the first next step in this process. Gene's experience and expertise are exactly what I was looking for as we position ourselves for success in the future."

Taylor, 56, earned a bachelor of science degree in business management from Arizona State University in 1980. He earned a master of science degree in sports administration from St. Thomas University in Miami, Florida, in 1985.

Gene and his wife, Cathy, will celebrate their 20th wedding anniversary on July 2. Cathy received a bachelor of science degree in special education from Slippery Rock University. The couple have two children: daughter Casey, 19, is a sophomore at North Dakota State majoring in sports management. She is a manager for the men's basketball team. Son Jared, 16, will be a sophomore in high school.