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NDSU AD Gene Taylor leaving for University of Iowa

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FARGO – An emotional Gene Taylor started saying his goodbyes Monday morning at the Fargodome.

Taylor, the athletic director at North Dakota State University, announced during a news conference that he has accepted a position as deputy director of intercollegiate athletics at the University of Iowa in Iowa City, Iowa.

Taylor served as athletic director at NDSU for 13 years.

“The last 13 years have been filled with great memories,” Taylor said. “This place is a special place. … I have been very fortunate. This state, this community, this region, this institution and this athletic program has meant a tremendous amount to my family. I can never say thank you enough to this place.”

Iowa athletic director Gary Barta has a long-standing relationship with Taylor dating back to when Taylor started at NDSU. Taylor said that he and Barta began discussing the position a month ago.

“It is an exciting opportunity to be a part of Hawkeye athletics and the University of Iowa,” Taylor said.

The Iowa job is something Taylor said he hopes is a stepping stone to athletic director position at a BCS school, a trajectory that may not have happened staying at NDSU.

“Some may not necessarily agree with that,” Taylor said. “I can’t tell you the number of people I talked to about this because I knew it was going to be such an agonizing decision. Those who I talked to in the profession including Gary have indicated that if the BCS route is the way I want to go this is the step I may have to take.”

Prakash Mathew, the school’s vice president for student affairs, has been named interim athletic director and will step into that role when Taylor leaves NDSU at the end of July.

The search for Taylor’s permanent replacement will begin immediately. A search committee has been formed.

“We are moving very quickly on that process,” NDSU President Dean Bresciani said Monday.

Taylor will fill a newly created post as the No. 2 athletics administrator at Iowa.

The 56-year-old has been at the helm of NDSU sports during its transition to NCAA Division I competition. He leaves after a six-month run in which both the men’s basketball and football coaches – Saul Phillips and Craig Bohl – left for jobs at new schools after successful seasons, Phillips at Ohio University and Bohl at the University of Wyoming. The Bison football team has won three state FCS national titles. The basketball team qualified for the NCAA tournament and won a game.

“I have been very fortunate to work with an extremely talented and dedicated coaching staff, administrative staff, directors, and support staff. (They) 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,” a University of Iowa news release quoted Taylor as saying.

Barta said in the release that 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,” Barta said in the statement.

At Iowa, he’ll be the top advisor to Athletic Director Gary Barta and have administrative oversight of the athletic department’s day-to-day operations, according to the Iowa news release.

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