Bob Bowlsby, one of the most respected athletic administrators in the nation, was named the Commissioner of the Big 12 Conference on May 4, 2012. The hire was praised throughout college athletics circles as yet another step in the continuing strength and stability of the Big 12.
Bowlsby has been at the forefront of change in collegiate athletics and was appointed to the inaugural NCAA Division I Council in 2015. The Division I governance body establishes and revises new governance rules that will oversee and guide all of college sports. He also served as chair of the Football Oversight Committee which oversees all aspects of collegiate football and reports directly to the NCAA Division I Council. Most recently he was appointed to the NCAA Presidential Task Force on Federal and State Legislative Issues.
In his first seven years, Bowlsby has seen 19 national championships added to the Big 12 trophy case and 143 NCAA individual event crowns. Twenty-one additional Conference squads finished as runner-up in NCAA competition. Eight teams have competed in College Football Playoff New Year’s Bowls in the five years of the structure with Oklahoma making the Conference’s first appearance in the CFP semifinals in 2015 and repeat showings in 2017 and 2018. The Big 12 is home of the last two Heisman Trophy winners with the selection of Oklahoma quarterbacks Baker Mayfield in 2017 and Kyler Murray in 2018.
Bowlsby earned his bachelor’s degree from Minnesota State University (Moorhead) in 1975 and his master’s degree from the University of Iowa in 1978. In February 2013, he was named to the NCAA 40th Anniversary Tribute Team, which recognized the 40th anniversary of NCAA Division II competition. He was a four-year letterwinner in wrestling at MSUM and served as captain during his senior year when he won a NSIC title, and in 2013 he received the Alumni Achievement Award. Bowlsby was inducted into the Dragon Sports Hall of Fame in 1998 and the University of Northern Iowa Hall of Fame in 2007. He also serves on the National Advisory Board of the Positive Coaching Alliance and the Board of the National Football Foundation.
Born on January 10, 1952, Bowlsby has been married to his wife, Candice, for over 42 years. They have four children and seven grandchildren.