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Why Badgers fans should know Beth Goetz, and why she's a candidate to take over as UW athletic director
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Why Badgers fans should know Beth Goetz, and why she's a candidate to take over as UW athletic director

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Minnesota interim athletic director Beth Goetz takes a question after she introduced new football coach Tracy Claeys during a 2015 news conference in Minneapolis. 

There’s about a month to go before Barry Alvarez officially retires as University of Wisconsin athletic director, and it appears UW-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank is getting closer to finding his replacement.

CollegeAD.com has reported that finalists are interviewing this week, and the website broke down a list of potential candidates.

Three of the names listed — Chris McIntosh, Sean Frazier and Nicki Moore — were on a State Journal list of potential candidates in early April when Alvarez announced his retirement.

McIntosh is the deputy athletic director at UW and has been groomed by Alvarez to take over. Frazier also worked under Alvarez as deputy athletic director and is now the athletic director at Northern Illinois.

Moore is the athletic director at Colgate, but a source said Tuesday that she has pulled out of the running for the UW job.

That leaves Goetz, who’s the athletic director at Ball State.

Another source said Goetz is “very smart” and “very good financially.” The COVID-19 pandemic has left many athletic departments hurting financially, but the source said Goetz has done a good job of tightening the budget and cutting out wasteful spending at Ball State.

“I’d call her very well-rounded,” said the source, who has worked with Goetz. “I think she would be a good hire.”

According to her bio, one of Goetz’s projects at Ball State was “the creation of a five-year strategic plan titled Onward. The plan aims to foster an environment that breeds academic success, impactful student-athlete experience, competitive excellence, community engagement, a sense of spirit and tradition, a Cardinal Culture and financial responsibility.”

Here are three other things to know about Goetz.

She’s been in the shoes of student-athletes

Goetz, who grew up in suburban St. Louis, played soccer at both Brevard College in North Carolina and Clemson. She was a captain as a senior at Clemson and one former teammate described her as “scrappy” in a 2015 Minneapolis Star Tribune feature story on Goetz.

According to the story, Goetz broke her nose on a header in a game against Duke during her senior season. She was worried she might lose her starting spot, so “she wore a plastic mask and had one of her best games the next day.”

She was a coach before going into administration

Goetz got her undergraduate degree in psychology and her master’s degree in counseling and had plans to become a therapist. But her coaches convinced her to give coaching a try and she served as an assistant women’s soccer coach while studying at Missouri-St. Louis.

She eventually became the coach and went 120-90-9 in 11 seasons from 1997 to 2007 before beginning a career as an administrator at Missouri-St. Louis, where she served as an assistant athletic director.

As for her background in psychology, Goetz said this in the aforementioned Star Tribune feature story on her.

“I think I’m pretty even-keeled most of the time,” she said. “There’s that saying that you don’t let people live rent free in your head. From a pressure standpoint, a challenge is invigorating.”

She has Big Ten experience

Goetz went from Missouri-St. Louis to Butler, where she served as an associate athletic director from 2008 to 2013.

She was hired as the deputy athletic director at Minnesota in 2013 and was promoted to interim athletic director in 2015 when Norwood Teague was forced to resign amid sexual harassment complaints.

Goetz served in that role for nine months, running a 25-sport department with a $105 million budget, but she was passed over for the permanent job, with Minnesota instead hiring Mark Coyle.

She was faced with a huge decision during her brief tenure running the Minnesota athletic department and chose to promote Tracy Claeys, who had served as interim coach after Jerry Kill retired for health reasons. Claeys went 9-4 in his only season but was fired by Coyle in January 2017 after a team-led boycott in response to suspensions of 10 Minnesota players accused of having a role in a sexual assault case led to a public outcry.

Goetz by that point had left for Connecticut, where she served as chief operating officer for two years. She was named the athletic director at Ball State in June 2018.


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