Cal AD Sandy Barbour stepping down

Ben Margot/2011 AP file photoSandy Barbour took over as Cal’s athletic director in 2004 and has gone through her share of highlights and lowlights.

BERKELEY — Cal athletic director Sandy Barbour will step down from her position effective July 15.

A person in the athletic department with knowledge of the decision said Thursday that Barbour and chancellor Nicholas Dirks determined it was time for a “change in leadership.” The San Jose Mercury News first reported the move.

The person says a prominent alum and former student athlete will be named interim athletic director. A news conference to announce the changes is scheduled for Friday.

Barbour came to Cal from Notre Dame in 2004 and had plenty of bright spots in her tenure, winning nearly two dozen national titles as the program excelled in Olympic and other non-revenue sports. Barbour also oversaw the construction of a new football facility and a major renovation to Memorial Stadium and made strong hires to bring on Mike Montgomery as men's basketball coach in 2008 and Lindsay Gottlieb as women's basketball coach in 2011.

But there were also plenty of setbacks, most notably struggles on the football field, poor academic showings by football and men's basketball players and financial troubles that almost led to the elimination of four programs, including baseball.

Barbour fired football coach Jeff Tedford following a 3-9 campaign in 2012 and hired Sonny Dykes as his replacement. The Golden Bears went 1-11 in their first season under Dykes, whose job status could be in doubt under a new AD if he doesn't show improvement this season.

Cal also had the lowest graduation rate for football players among major conference teams, according to data released by the NCAA last fall. The program has shown significant improvement of late in its academic performance after Barbour put more emphasis on academic support.

Barbour will remain at Cal and set up an academic program in sports management on campus.

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