STANFORD -- Stanford announced Bernard Muir as its new athletic director Friday, ending a search that spanned nearly three months.
The move was well-received, particularly by a senior official at a certain school across the bay.
"The Stanford community, the coaches, the student-athletes -- they are going to love Bernard," Cal athletic director Sandy Barbour said. "He's not only a talented administrator. He's an even better person."
Barbour should know. She and Muir worked together at Notre Dame nearly a decade ago and have remained close friends. They talk regularly -- and did so during Stanford's hiring process.
"As far as I'm concerned," Barbour said, "he's bringing his talents to the Pac-12. And the talent in the room just went up."
Muir spent the past three years as the athletic director at Delaware and is a member of the NCAA basketball selection committee.
He stopped short of discussing specific goals for his Stanford tenure and instead spoke generally about plans to "foster a greater family atmosphere" and "support the student-athletes and the coaches."
Muir, who will start in mid-August, is Stanford's first black athletic director. He joins a department that is among the most diverse in major college athletics, with a black basketball coach (Johnny Dawkins), football coach (David Shaw), offensive coordinator (Pep Hamilton) and defensive coordinator (Derek Mason).
Muir, 44, decided he wanted to be an
White called Muir "empathetic to a fault, inordinately task-oriented ... and ridiculously passionate about the plight of the student-athlete."
In 2005, Muir left Notre Dame to become the athletic director at Georgetown. Four years later, he jumped to Delaware -- a move that may seem odd from a basketball perspective.
"I missed football Saturdays," he said, noting that the sport is more popular at Delaware than Georgetown. "There was a chance to grow a number of programs. I thought it would be a great experience.
"From the outside, I could see why people would ask, 'Why make that move?' But obviously, it worked out well."
Muir said he did not seek out the Cardinal vacancy after Bob Bowlsby left in May to become the commissioner of the Big 12. He was contacted by the executive search firm that assisted Stanford.
During the hiring process, Muir spoke to several former Stanford coaches, including Tyrone Willingham, who was hired by Notre Dame during Muir's tenure in South Bend.
"Every one of them spoke so fondly of the place," Muir said.
He also talked to Barbour. As always.
"The shame of it that we have to play each a lot," Barbour said. "But we'll each want to kick each other's butt."
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