PITTSBURGH (KDKA/AP) — University of Pittsburgh Athletic Director Scott Barnes is officially heading to Oregon State.

After a week of rumors, Pitt officials announced Thursday evening that Barnes accepted the same position in Oregon.

In a statement, Pitt Chancellor Patrick Gallagher said: “Scott Barnes is an outstanding athletic director and has been wholeheartedly committed to the success of our student-athletes during his time at Pitt. I am very sorry to see him leave, but I know that Scott is doing what is best for his family, and I wish them well as he takes on his new role at Oregon State.”

Barnes’ name was first mentioned as a possibility for Oregon State when their former athletic direct left for Georgia Tech.

Pitt hired Barnes to the position less than two years ago, and during his short time there, he bolstered the department’s fundraising efforts and hired men’s basketball coach Kevin Stallings.

Barnes is a native of Spokane, Washington. In a press release, he said it was a difficult decision to leave Pittsburgh and the university.

His statement reads in part: “The University of Pittsburgh is a world-class institution with tremendous history. But I sincerely believe the university’s future under the leadership of Chancellor Gallagher will be even more accomplished. I also know that Pitt Athletics is poised for great achievements and championships. It has been an honor to serve Pitt’s student-athletes and staff. Although we are moving on, I can assure you the people of Pitt will always be an important part of us.”

Oregon State features 18 sports with 535 student-athletes and an operating budget of $84 million, a slightly larger operation than Pittsburgh, which has 19 sports, 475 student-athletes and a $75 million budget.

Barnes, 54, has spent the majority of his life in the western part of the United States. He played basketball at Fresno State and has worked in various capacities at Humboldt State in California, Eastern Washington, Washington and Utah State.

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Pitt officials say they are now turning their attention to finding a new athletic director.

“My focus now turns to building the next chapter in Pitt Athletics,” Gallagher said in a statement. “We are launching a national search to identify the next great leader of our athletics program—one that helps offer student-athletes both a great education and a chance to win at the highest levels of collegiate sports.”

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