Pitt To Hire Utah State’s Scott Barnes As Its Next Athletic Director


Sep 20, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; University of Pittsburgh chancellor Patrick Gallagher cheers on the Panthers against the Iowa Hawkeyes during the second quarter at Heinz Field. Iowa won 24-20. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports


Pitt took its time to find a new athletic director, but it appears that the Panthers have found a fit in Utah State’s Scott Barnes.

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Barnes, 52, has been Utah State’s athletic director since 2008, in which the athletic programs and facilities have undergone improvement.

New Pitt chancellor Patrick Gallagher fired Steve Pederson in mid-December, amongst the loss of another head football coach when Paul Chryst left for Wisconsin. Barnes was Pitt’s number 1 choice, and he interviewed on Monday. He had also met with Gallagher at the Final Four in Indianapolis.

Hopefully Barnes will have more success in scheduling competitive Power 5 conferences for football and basketball, and potentially renewing the Backyard Brawl in both sports.

Barnes graduated from Fresno State in 1986 and was director of athletic development for the University of San Diego in 1989. In 1997, he was named AD at Humboldt State in Arcata, CA, and in 1999 he was named AD at Eastern Washington.

In 2005, he was an associate AD for advancement at the University of Washington, and in 2008, he was hired as AD at Utah State. In 2013, he played a key role in Utah State’s entry into the Mountain West Conference.

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  • Upon reading his past, I immediately sense that Barnes is a “west-coast” guy, so that makes me question whether he will stick with Pitt upon sustained success at the University. Time will tell, but I am putting faith into the administration upon his hiring, and I wish him the best of luck at Pitt.

    At Utah State, he was a prominent figure in securing $15 million in capital projects. Utah State went 48-42 during his tenure, with 9+ wins in each of the past three seasons.  He was also named the 2013-14 Under Armour Athletics Director of the Year.

    The basketball program made three consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances from 2008-2010, so hopefully he takes note of the recent failures and loss of commitments with the Pitt basketball team. Barnes was a part of the NCAA men’s basketball committee the past five years, serving as chairman last season.

    On paper, I love what I see. I would imagine that Barnes has met with Pitt head football coach Pat Narduzzi, and he is ready to help bring Pitt back to relevance. I only hope that he does not use this job as a “stepping stone” for an AD position that may open up on the west coast at a Division 1 program such as UCLA or USC. Pitt loved his fundraising ability, and everyone hopes that he can add some excitement back to the athletic programs.

    In case you were wondering, the other finalists included Boise State’s Mark Coyle, Villanova’s Vince Nicastro, and Northern Illinois’ Sean Frazier.

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