Stanford teams won 10 NCAA championships during Bowlsby's tenure, plus five straight Final Four appearances by the women's basketball teams.
"I am very sad to see Bob leave Stanford. I loved working for Bob. He is a great supporter of women's basketball and women's athletics here at Stanford," said Hall of Fame women's basketball coach Tara VanDerveer. "He is direct, a problem-solver, and a man of integrity. The Big 12 is fortunate to have him and he will do a great job."
Bigger challenges lie ahead for Bowlsby in the Midwest.
The Big 12 was hit hard two years ago and wound up losing Nebraska to the Big Ten, Colorado to the Pac-12 and, as of July 1, Texas A&M and Missouri to the Southeastern Conference. Beebe was booted in September as Oklahoma, Texas and others were flirting with the Pac-12 and the Big 12 seemed on the brink of falling apart.
The conference is reportedly working toward a new television deal with ESPN, and Neinas was pushing members to agree to a long-term grant of media rights to the league that would make it all but impossible for schools to bolt. No deal has been struck yet, but that will likely be among the first items on the agenda for Bowlsby.
That's something he worked closely with Scott to accomplish.
After reaching a 12-year contract worth about $3 billion last year with Fox and ESPN, the Pac-12 announced plans to launch a new conference-owned network to supplement coverage and create more exposure for Pac-12 athletes. The venture will launch this fall with the national cable network, six regional networks and a digital network.
"''We're grateful to Bob Bowlsby for his leadership of Stanford Athletics over the past six years," Stanford Provost and acting President John Etchemendy said in a statement. "We're sorry to see him go, but this is a tremendous opportunity for him, and we wish him and the Big 12 all the best."
Etchemendy will lead a national search for Bowlsby's replacement.
AP Sports Writers Janie McCauley in San Francisco and Betsy Blaney in Lubbock, Texas, contributed to this report.
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