Iowa interim AD Beth Goetz can embrace change — that’s why she’s the right fit


Share post:

IOWA CITY, Iowa — Taking the podium for the first time as Iowa’s interim athletics director, Beth Goetz delivered the perfect tone between leveraging Iowa’s strengths with shaping a vision for the new future of collegiate athletics.

Striking that balance is important for any administrator, and in a 30-minute news conference Thursday, Goetz shaped a message that was both forward-thinking and respectful of the past. It’s built on maintaining and enhancing pre-existing relationships, developing creative ways to amplify successes and bolstering areas of weakness.

“It’s always going to be a work in progress,” Goetz said. “I am incredibly proud of what I see here, the people that I see here, and the belief that we are really trying to serve people the right way, to serve our institution in the right way, and to support our student-athletes and anybody else in a manner that’s going to be respectful and inclusive for everybody.

“But it doesn’t mean we’re not going to have places where we can grow and get better. The goal is to create that positive environment. If we see something that’s not going well, we’re going to address it. We’re going to insert accountability, we’re going to learn from it, and we’re going to move forward.”

That’s the type of vision Iowa needs in finding Gary Barta’s long-term successor as athletics director. Goetz is the interim athletics director through at least early 2024 when UI President Barbara Wilson officially plans to launch a national search. But there’s no need to make this decision more difficult than it has to be. Goetz is more qualified for that position than any other candidate in Iowa athletics history and the right person to lead it.

Barta came to Iowa in 2006 after a two-plus-year stint at Wyoming. Barta’s predecessor, Bob Bowlsby, led Northern Iowa’s athletics department for seven years before coming to Iowa in 1991. Bump Elliott spent one year in administration before smoothing over a chaotic department at Iowa in 1970. Christine Grant started the Iowa women’s athletics department in 1973 and led it through her retirement in 2000. Grant, Elliott and Bowlsby impacted college sports on a generational level. None of them had as much experience as the current interim athletics director.


Dochterman: Gary Barta’s polarizing Iowa legacy filled with triumphs, disarray

Goetz’s background ranges from women’s soccer coach to interim athletics director at Minnesota to UConn chief operating officer to Ball State athletics director. Goetz was named the 2022 Division I FBS Nike Executive of the Year and was chair of the NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Committee before leaving Ball State for Iowa. As impressive as that experience is, it’s just a resume. What makes Goetz uniquely qualified for this moment in time is her vision and ability to build consensus.

Beth Goetz career history

Year Title


Interim Athletics Director, Iowa


Deputy Athletics Director/SWA, Iowa


NCAA Division I FBS Nike Executive of the Year


Chair, NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Committee


Vice Chair, NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Committee


Director of Athletics, Ball State


NCAA Competition Oversight Committee member


Chief Operating Officer/SWA, UConn


Interim Director of Athletics, Minnesota


Deputy Athletics Director/SWA, Minnesota


Associate Athletic Director/SWA, Butler


Assistant Athletic Director/SWA, Missouri-St. Louis


Head Women’s Soccer Coach, Missouri-St.Louis


Assistant Women’s Soccer Coach, Missouri-St. Louis

In regular banter before interviews, the first question posed by several officials to me started with, “Beth’s going to get that job, right?” That’s from sitting athletics directors to high-level college administrators. Traditional job candidates concede Goetz deserves the opportunity and none have lobbed even a veiled shot in her direction. Agents, search firm employees and even athletics department staffers vouch for her on background. In a world filled with petty gossip, Goetz doesn’t seem to have a scratch.

Why? Because she has an important voice at a critical juncture for college athletics. Philosophically, Goetz is different from her predecessor, who was reluctant to embrace many of the industry shifts. That’s not a criticism of Barta — his conservative ideals were also important — but Goetz understands 2026 will be different from 2023 and a world away from 2015.

“College athletics needs to evolve, and what that means for how we share resources with student-athletes and what the actual pathway is for that to happen remains to be seen,” Goetz said. “But I also believe — and I don’t think these two things are mutually exclusive — I think we can provide greater resources, greater revenue opportunities, whether that’s within our (department), outside the athletic department, and still embed this experience with the components that tie it to education and make it different than pro sports.

“Student-athletes not being paid is not the only thing distinctive about college athletics, between that and pro sports. It’s incumbent upon those of us that get to work and manage and lead in that space to make sure they are getting an education, that we’re preparing them for what’s next.”

The Hawkeyes are blessed with institutional memory and stability in their core four sports with Kirk Ferentz (football), Lisa Bluder (women’s basketball) and Tom Brands (wrestling) all on Hall of Fame tracks, while men’s basketball coach Fran McCaffery is set to break the school wins record this season. Ferentz, Bluder and Brands all were hired by Bowlsby or Grant, while Barta inked McCaffery in 2010.

“There are really no words that do that justice,” Goetz said. “No one, and I mean no one in the country can look across a department and say, ‘Hey, we have that experience, the success, the tradition, the type of people that Iowa has.’ There’s just no way to measure that except for to recognize each day how fortunate we are to have these Hall of Fame coaches that are running around our halls each and every day and the legacy they’ve created.”



What Gary Barta’s retirement means for future AD, Brian Ferentz

Succession planning is critical for any athletics director and when that day comes, there’s no more important hire at Iowa — president and athletics director included — than head football coach. With Hayden Fry and Ferentz holding that position since 1979, on-field success and full stadiums have followed for 45 years. How everyone will judge Iowa’s next athletics director is how he or she eventually replaces the 68-year-old Ferentz, who has a contract through 2030. What happens with successors for McCaffery, Bluder and perhaps Brands will carry similar scrutiny and attention.

“The most important thing is to figure out what type of individual you need for your institution,” Goetz said. “I personally don’t believe that every coach can be equally successful at each place. I think it depends on who you are, what you want to be, what your culture is and finding the right coach that fits all of those needs.

“It’s really important that you sort of define, here are our top five priorities in this sport for the person that’s going to lead the program going forward, and then you start the search process from there to make sure that you are looking at candidates that are going to hit all those marks.”

Issues will come up at some point, and Goetz has experience in that area. At Minnesota, she replaced an athletics director who resigned after multiple accusations of sexual harassment. Her term as interim director coincided with a football coach who resigned midseason for health issues. Iowa athletics has faced several controversies over the last decade, including settling lawsuits for racial, gender and sexual discrimination totaling nearly $12 million and investigations for Title IX and racial bias.

“Certainly we, just like any other institution, have had trying moments,” Goetz said. “I think it’s important, although I wasn’t here for those, that I understand what those issues are, what those issues were like then and try and ensure and help support us in not making any repetitive mistakes.”

In Barta’s 17 years as athletics director, there were four subordinates who I thought had the potential to lead departments successfully. Anyone could envision former Iowa Deputy AD Gene Taylor (Kansas State) leading a Power 5 program. Two young ones — Patrick Sojka (UNLV senior associate AD) and Tom Moreland (Illinois senior associate AD) — are well on their way. Goetz, of course, is the other.

Like Grant and Bowlsby, Goetz has the potential to emerge as a national leader with the right platform. At a university that traditionally has cultivated those voices and allowed them to flourish, Goetz is the right person with the right message at the right place. It’s also the perfect time.

(Photo: Scott Dochterman / The Athletic)

Source link

Alexandra Williams
Alexandra Williams
Alexandra Williams is a writer and editor. Angeles. She writes about politics, art, and culture for LinkDaddy News.

Recent posts

Related articles

Real Madrid taking legal action over accusation they bribed referees

Real Madrid are taking legal action after they were accused of bribing referees by a former police...

Tottenham vs Liverpool VAR officials not selected for Premier League matches after ‘error’

The two match officials who were stood down from duty after Saturday’s incident in which Liverpool was...

What we learned from Astros’ do-or-die road trip and how it may impact October

The Astros’ postseason really started seven days ago during a season-defining road trip. To secure a spot...

Armando Broja making up for lost time as Chelsea’s faith pays off

For the second time in 10 months, the focus fell on Armando Broja bellowing to the heavens...

Seahawks defense ‘put the world on notice’ in win over Giants

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — As successful as Pete Carroll has been at training his players to treat...

Phil Nevin won’t be back as Angels manager in ’24: ‘It didn’t go the way we wanted’

It isn’t a rare occurrence to see Phil Nevin cry publicly. The indelible images of his Los...

Premier League referees freelancing in the UAE and Saudi? Webb has got himself in a tangle

There have been discussions lately about a fly-on-the-wall series about the Premier League’s match officials. An attempt...

Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Week 5: Streamers, Michael Wilson, Jaleel McLaughlin and more

The Week 5 fantasy football waiver wire is a bit slim, but with bye weeks starting, we...