Getting to know Gene Taylor - Iowa's Deputy Athletics Director
Gene Taylor was recently named the University of Iowa Deputy Athletics Director. Taylor, 56, served as North Dakota State’s Athletic Director for 13 years, successfully guiding their transition from Division II to Division I and overseeing three consecutive football national championships. Recently, he sat down with us to share some of his initial thoughts regarding his transition to Iowa.
What are the differences in resources between NDSU and Iowa?
Donors are critical to the success of the program no matter where you are - people who believe in your program and support you for all the right reasons. We had that at NDSU. What I see here is the same thing, just at a higher level - more donors, more dollars, very high aspirations, and bigger needs. When you have bigger needs, you need that backbone of private, financial support. What has been built here at Iowa has been built in large part on the backs of the contributors and fans.
What hit you immediately in terms of donor impact?
The scope of work that has been done on facilities in the last few years. There is a significant impact on your donor base when you renovate your basketball arena and wrestling room, build a basketball and volleyball practice facility, and build a state-of-the-art football facility at basically the same time. I was very impressed with the amount of money that was raised from our donors and friends to help bring those very important facility projects to fruition.
What made you decide to leave NDSU?
It was a difficult decision, but - Gary’s leadership has always been something I respected and the opportunity to work with him was a draw. Second, working in the Big Ten was a personal and professional goal of mine. But what really made Iowa, specifically, the right fit for me was the philosophy here, how Iowa athletics operates and the kind of program that Iowa runs. The Iowa Way. That was the deciding factor. We had accomplished a lot at NDSU and while there is never a perfect time to leave, right now there are a lot of great things in place there.
You are getting ready to experience your first fall at Iowa. What are you looking forward to?
I was looking forward to the home opener in Kinnick Stadium. It was electric. I enjoyed that experience immensely and was very impressed with the game-day experience for our fans. The traditions that Iowa has on game day are special. I am really looking forward to seeing all of our fall sports teams compete.
What will your primary responsibilities be in your role as deputy athletics director?
My role is to represent Gary, and to relieve him of some of the day-to-day decisions, so that he can expand his external role and focus on moving the program forward in a strategic way. Gary has a very experienced and capable staff - but they are a very busy staff. I am an extension of Gary. I will be relieving Gary and his senior staff of some of their work load.