IOWA CITY — Beth Goetz is here to stay.
Goetz, who has served as the University of Iowa's interim athletics director since Aug. 1 after Gary Barta retired from his position, has been named the university's permanent director of athletics, the UI announced Thursday.
“Beth is a talented and dynamic leader, and our national research has proven her to be the best athletics director at the University of Iowa,” University of Iowa President Barbara Wilson said in a statement. “She has done an outstanding job as interim, and I am confident she will lead our athletics department and student-athletes to new levels of achievement both on the field of play and in the classroom.”
Goetz, who signed a five-year contract, will receive a base salary of $850,000 plus up to $175,000 in annual performance incentives and $200,000 annually in deferred compensation. She will also receive up to two university-provided cars or a car allowance of $1,500 a month, according to her contract, which the Journal reviewed after a public records request.
Her base salary as interim athletics director was $650,000, the same as Barta's base salary when he announced his retirement.
Goetz will oversee the department, which sponsors 22 intercollegiate sports with more than 600 student-athletes. The division is expected to generate income of about $140.3 million this fiscal year.
Goetz first arrived at Iowa State in September 2022 as deputy athletics director. Eleven months later, she took on the interim role. Goetz — who already has athletics director experience from her stints at Minnesota and Ball State — has received rave reviews during her first five months as Iowa State's interim.
“Every coach supports her 100 percent,” Iowa State women’s basketball head coach Lisa Bluder said in Big Ten basketball media days before the 2023-24 season. “She's an unbelievable team builder. She's a great leader. … I just think if we didn't hire her, it wouldn't be really smart.”
Every active coach on campus issued statements Thursday in support of Goetz following news of her permanent hiring.
Football coach Kirk Ferentz said in a statement that he was “thrilled to officially name Beth as our university’s newest director of athletics.”
“She has a vision that respects the traditions of our athletics programs while seizing opportunities in the rapidly changing college sports landscape,” Ferentz said. “Beth is very professional, and I believe she is well-equipped to navigate this new era of team sports.”
Men's wrestling coach Tom Brands said “the Falcons got the best” with Goetz as captain. “Beth Goetz worked her way into the business by not focusing on the business,” Brands said. “It's about the right things.”
Several of Goetz's colleagues from previous jobs also went out of their way to pay tribute to her, including Boston Celtics president Brad Stevens.
“I told everyone who would listen wherever she was, and everyone I knew, that she was one of the best administrators and leaders I have ever worked with,” said Stevens, who worked with her at Butler University in Indiana. A phone call with the newspaper last year.
Goetz, 49, now takes permanent charge of a department that has seen an unusual tenure at the top job. Barta's tenure at Iowa State lasted exactly 17 years, and Bob Bowlsby had been at Iowa State — where he initially led the men's athletic department before the men's and women's divisions merged in 2000 — for 15 years before that.
“I am truly honored and humbled to lead Iowa State’s renowned athletics program, and I am grateful to President Wilson and the search committee for their confidence in my leadership,” Goetz said in a statement. “The University of Iowa is a world-class institution with a demonstrated commitment to excellence in athletics.”
Goetz, whose promotion is effective immediately but still needs approval by the Iowa State Board of Trustees, is the only woman currently serving as the Big Ten's director of athletics. She is also the first woman to serve as Iowa State's athletic director since Christine Grant led the then-separate women's athletics department from 1973 to 2000.
Thursday's announcement concludes the formal search process that began late last year. The UI hired TurnkeyZRG to conduct the search and created a 10-person search committee, which included a mix of university and athletics department employees, and current athlete and major donor P. Sue Beckwith.
The search “produced an impressive group of candidates,” said Nicole Grossland, associate dean of the IU College of Engineering and chair of the committee.
“The committee had the opportunity to interview numerous athletic directors from across the country,” Grossland said in a statement. “Beth is a finalist with a strong vision to lead the department at this critical time.”
TurnkeyZRG has previously conducted several high-profile searches in collegiate athletics, including NCAA President, Big 12 Commissioner and ACC Commissioner.
It is unclear how much the university spent on research.
The UI contract with TurnkeyZRG, which The Gazette obtained last month through a public records request, indicated that the search firm would receive a fee representing “a percentage of the targeted total cash compensation for the first year of the position.”
But the contract did not clarify what that percentage was. The UI has not yet fulfilled a follow-up request for documents that may indicate a percentage.
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