Harold Bardo named interim athletic director

By Tyler Davis

Athletic Director Mario Moccia, who is leaving the university Jan. 5 to take the same position at New Mexico State University, is helping soon-to-be interim Athletic Director Harold Bardo get used to his future position.

Saluki Athletics added to the university’s long list of interim positions Friday when it named Bardo the temporary athletic director.

Bardo, who worked as the director of SIU’s Medical and Dental Education Preparatory Program, will assume AD duties Jan. 1, 2015, according to a Saluki Athletics press release. He has been involved with the university periodically since 1968.


Moccia said he will speak with Bardo this week about some of the issues facing athletics. He was not specific about the issues but said he has a to-do list written to share with Bardo.

President Randy Dunn said he named Bardo to the position Friday so he and Moccia would have a chance to discuss plans for the athletic department.

Moccia said Dunn asked him who would be a good fit for the position and he recommended Bardo because of his experience.

“I said he would be an excellent installation to the staff,” Moccia said. “Harold has… been involved with Saluki athletics for 50 years. I think it’s a very sound decision.”

This will be the second time Bardo will have the interim athletic director title. He held the position in 1999 and 2000 before the hiring of Paul Kowalczyk.

Bardo said he does not anticipate having to deal with any big problems.

“Hopefully I won’t be [in the position] long so I won’t have a lot of challenges to face,” he said. “Mario left the program in really good stead.”


Bardo played on the SIU basketball team from 1958 to 1961 and worked as an instructor in the psychology and medical departments. Bardo was also a member of the Intercollegiate Advisory Committee, which advised Moccia, and served as a facility representative of the athletic department.

Moccia said these roles will help him immensely.

“Harold pretty much already knows everything that’s going on in the athletic department so nothing should be a surprise,” he said.

Bardo praised Moccia’s tenure as athletic director, citing Saluki Way, which funded new facilities for the basketball, baseball, football, softball and track and field teams. He said his familiarity with members of Moccia’s staff will make the transition easy for him.

“The only thing that will be different is that I’ll be sitting in the seat Mario sat in,” Bardo said.

The press release also said Doug Woolard, a former athletic director of the University of South Florida, will serve as a special adviser to asses the program before a permanent athletic director is hired. Woolard was replaced at South Florida in January because of wide-ranging dissatisfaction, according to an ESPN.com article.

Woolard will handle financial aspects, such as cost-control. He will represent the university in Missouri Valley Conference negotiations and deal with NCAA legislative proposals, according to the press release. Woolard will do all of this under Bardo’s oversight.

Moccia said the addition of Woolard was not necessary but a good idea to help Bardo.

“I certainly think Harold is very capable of doing everything but when you’re thrust into an interim role, it’s always good to have help,” he said. “There wouldn’t be a better helper than Doug Woolard because he’s up to speed on all these issues.”

Moccia said Woolard’s career at Saint Louis University and South Florida has kept him up to date with many issues facing collegiate athletics. He said the O’Bannon vs. NCAA decision as well as broadcasting contracts are changing the nature of college athletics and Woolard is knowledgeable about these issues.

“The landscape is changing from a day-to-day basis so it’s important that somebody is aware of things that are going on and be there to put Southern Illinois in the best position to be successful,” Moccia said.

Woolard, a Carbondale native, coached basketball and was athletic director at Carbondale Community High School.

The release states the search for a permanent athletic director will begin at the beginning of 2015.

If he is approved, Bardo said his contract details are not clear but he will make less money than other candidates because he was retired.

The SIU Board of Trustees still has to vote on Bardo’s hiring, said Adrian Miller, the campus’ student trustee on the board.

“President Dunn has made his recommendation to have Dr. Bardo put on as the interim AD and now he’s looking for the support of the board,” Miller said. “I think we should give Dr. Dunn that support.”

Tony McDaniel contributed to this story.

Tony McDaniel can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @tonymcdanielDE

Tyler Davis can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @tdavis_DE