Gene Taylor, the current Deputy Athletics Director at Iowa who also spent more than a decade leading North Dakota State to championship levels of success as its Director of Athletics, has been named the new Director of Athletics at K-State, President Richard Myers announced today.
Taylor, who was hired at Iowa in 2014 following a successful 13-year career as the director of athletics at NDSU, will be officially introduced at 10:30 a.m., Monday, during a news conference in the Steel and Pipe Team Theatre inside the Vanier Family Football Complex. Taylor, Myers and search committee chair Amy Button Renz will participate in the formal news conference, which will be broadcast live on K-StateHD.TV.
“We are thrilled to have Gene, his wife Cathy and their two children join the K-State family,” Myers said. “Throughout the process, Gene’s experience as an athletics director and his national reputation as a respected leader and someone who has built and maintained tremendous relationships with his staff, coaches, student-athletes and donors stood out in what was an extremely talented pool of candidates.
“I also would like to thank Amy Button Renz and the search committee for managing and directing a professional and thorough search and also Acting Athletics Director Laird Veatch for his leadership and helping keep the Athletics Department functioning smoothly during this interim period. He is a loyal and committed K-Stater, and I appreciate his continued service.”
“My family and I are truly honored and thrilled to join the K-State family,” Taylor said. “I would like to commend Amy Button Renz and the committee for conducting what I believe was the most professional and detailed search I have ever been a part of, while also being extremely appreciative to President Myers for his leadership and confidence in my ability to lead this athletics department at such an outstanding institution. I also would like to thank Laird Veatch for his time as Interim Athletics Director, and I know people think highly of him and his service to K-State.
“We are excited to get to Manhattan, and I look forward to meeting our student-athletes, coaches, staff and supporters and helping them build upon the across-the-board success that K-State has attained.”
Taylor took the reins at North Dakota State in the summer of 2001 and immediately spearheaded a comprehensive evaluation of the Bison athletic department, all while successfully guiding the athletics program through the unpredictable waters of reclassification to NCAA Division I from Division II and securing conference affiliations for all 16 sports. The Bison are currently members of The Summit League, Missouri Valley Football Conference and Western Wrestling Conference.
Taylor also played an instrumental part of forming the Great West Football Conference in February 2004, an affiliation that gave the Bison football program an immediate home in Division I.
The success of the football program is well documented, highlighted by three-straight FCS National Championships in 2011, 2012 and 2013 under head coach Craig Bohl as the Bison quickly became one of the most revered football programs in all levels of college sports.
In addition to football, the NDSU men’s basketball, women’s volleyball, softball and women’s golf programs all regularly qualified for NCAA tournaments, highlighted by softball advancing to the 2009 Super Regional, while the Bison totaled 53 Summit League team championships since 2009 under Taylor’s guidance in addition to 62 Academic All-Americans, three NCAA Woman of the Year national qualifiers, four NCAA Elite 89 selections and 20 NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship winners.
The NDSU athletics budget tripled from $5 million in Taylor’s first year to $15 million, while the scholarship endowment grew to $11.2 million, and Team Makers booster club support tripled from $750,000 to $2.8 million.
In 2014, Taylor accepted the role of deputy athletics director at Iowa where he has been responsible for the administrative oversight of the department’s day-to-day operations while also serving as the leading advisor to the Director of Athletics and the primary decision maker in his absence.
He also supervises and manages all the department’s administrative units, capital projects as well as serving as the direct sport supervisor for field hockey, men’s and women’s tennis, men’s and women’s swimming and diving, women’s soccer, baseball and wrestling. Taylor also has oversight of the football and men’s and women’s basketball programs daily operations, which included postseason and bowl travel coordination.
Twice Taylor has been recognized for his success by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics. He was selected as the FCS Central Region AD of the Year in June 2008 and June 2012. Taylor received the Blue Key Honor Society Doctor of Service Award, one of the most prestigious honors an NDSU faculty member can be bestowed, in April 2012.
A student assistant to the associate athletics director in his undergraduate days at Arizona State University, Taylor arrived at NDSU after a 15-year stint at Navy (1986-2001) as an administrative assistant, assistant ticket manager, ticket manager, assistant athletic director for tickets and operations, and associate athletic director.
Taylor is a 1980 business management graduate of Arizona State, and he received his master’s degree in sports administration in 1985 from St. Thomas University in Florida.
He worked in the ticket office at Southern Methodist University in 1985-86 before joining the Naval Academy. His tenure at Navy included serving as the commissioner of the five-team Collegiate Sprint Football League that includes Army, Navy, Penn, Princeton and Cornell.
Taylor, 58, and his wife, Cathy, have one daughter, Casey, and a son, Jared. Casey (22) graduated from North Dakota State this past December with a degree in sports management and is pursuing a career in college athletics, while Jared (18) will graduate this May from Iowa City High School and attend Northern State University in South Dakota where he will play football.