Oregon State has ended a fall-long absence of an Athletic Director with a weeks long hiring process that will bring Scott Barnes to Corvallis to fill the job vacated when Todd Stansbury left after only about a year to return to his alma mater, and take the AD job at Georgia Tech.
“I am very excited to join Beaver Nation and am ready to hit the ground running and build upon the success of OSU Athletics,” Barnes said in a statement. “I guarantee that we will contribute to advancing the mission of this university. We will deliver the highest level of achievement on the playing field and for all student-athletes in the classroom, in the community and in their lives and careers. Everything that we will do will be defined by excellence. Success will be measured in wins, championships, and by providing the best student-athlete experience possible.”
“I chose Scott Barnes because he is the perfect fit for Oregon State University,” Oregon State President Ed Ray added in another statement. “He will guide OSU Athletics to compete and win championships the right way, the Oregon State way. Scott is a proven leader and a champion with a long track record of success. He will lead the immediate and long term achievement for all OSU sports programs, and contribute greatly to the passion of everyone within Beaver Nation. He understands that at Oregon State University, good is not good enough. OSU and its student-athletes will be champions in all aspects of athletics, as students and in the community.”
Barnes officially begins work February 13, and will have a Vice-President title to go along with Athletic Director on his business card.
Terms of the negotiated hire, which began last week, only to bog down, leading to a disjointed episode with the school’s marketing mouthpiece, but reached fruition today, were not mentioned in the initial announcement.
It caps a great week for Beavers football coach Gary Andersen, who got a year’s contract extension, and now a boss he approves of. If the sequence of events seems strange, extending a coach’s contract immediately before hiring the person whose’ job it would normally be to decide things like coaches’ contracts, its important to know that it was Barnes who hired Andersen in 2009 as the head coach at Utah State.
It also clarifies exactly how solid the footing for Andersen is, 6-18 record in his rebuilding, and reimaging, project in Corvallis not withstanding.
Notably, Andersen was a vocal critic of the situation when Stansbury left, when he said he hoped whomever got the job would stick around.
Barnes is a career Athletic Director, and mostly in the west, having held that role at Humboldt St. from 1997 to 1999, and then Eastern Washington from 1999 to 2005. Barnes then moved up to Division I, first as a senior associate Athletic Director at Washington from 2005 to 2008, before becoming the AD at Utah State, where he stayed until last year, when he took the Pittsburgh AD job.
Barnes also played DI basketball, being a center at Fresno St.
With men’s basketball coach Wayne Tinkle, women’s hoops coach Scott Rueck, and baseball coach Scott Casey all being in on the hiring process as well as Andersen, Barnes likely isn’t going to rock any boats, at least initially. Which is a good thing, unless a situation arises where he needs to.
On the positive side, Barnes was responsible for a sizable uptick in funding for all Aggie sports at Utah State, and has NCAA connections in high places, which resulted in his being named the chairman of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament Selection Committee in May of 2013, while still in Logan(!). Knowing NCAA President Mark Emmert, who was the President at Washington while Barnes was there certainly helped.
Barnes was on the tournament selection committee through the 2015 tournament.
Regardless of how it happened, the facts are Barnes has a track record of securing funding, and of NCAA political connections, two things Oregon State is sorely in need of help with. So while he doesn’t look the part of a new sheriff in town, his comments about winning championships not withstanding, perhaps he will be good at taking strides that might help make it unnecessary to deal with under-performing programs.
In fact, everything about the hire initially looks like a solid, business hire, though one that might be only slightly more noticeable than the nearly totally invisible tenure of Stansbury, who dodged the media, the program’s investors, and anyone else who might have a reason to want to talk to someone in charge.
Perhaps this will be Bob DeCarolis with creativity.