Soon after the University of Iowa announced its 13th athletic director this past winter, its head coaches joined together to publicly praise her hire. They were unified in their message: These are uncharted waters for college sports, and Beth Goetz is the right person to helm the Hawkeye ship.
Describing her as a “tremendous leader who will take athletics to the next level at Iowa,” UI President Barb Wilson introduced Goetz as the Henry B. and Patricia B. Tippie Director of Athletics Chair following a committee-led national search. Formerly deputy director, Goetz served as interim director for five months after Gary Barta retired last summer following 17 years as A.D.
Goetz takes over at a transformational time at Iowa and athletic departments around the nation. New name, image, and likeness rules have empowered student-athletes. The Big Ten is expanding to 18 schools this fall. The transfer portal has introduced new challenges and possibilities. And the popularity of women’s sports has soared to new heights.
“Change equals opportunity, and I am confident the Hawks are well-positioned to navigate the shifting college athletics landscape,” Goetz said at her introductory news conference, which was packed with coaches and student-athletes. “My pledge to all of you here today is to lead the University of Iowa with this foundation. I will serve with integrity, transparency, and a relentless drive for success.”
“I will serve with integrity, transparency, and a relentless drive for success.” —Beth Goetz
Goetz is the first woman to oversee both Iowa’s men’s and women’s athletics programs since their merger into a single department in 2000, and she’s currently the only woman in the Big Ten serving as athletic director. She continues a legacy left by Christine Grant (70BA, 74PhD), who served as the university’s women’s athletic director from 1973 to 2000, and men’s administrators like Forest Evashevski and Bump Elliott.
Sports figures at Iowa and around the country celebrated the hiring of Goetz, who in 2022 was named the NCAA Division I FBS Nike Executive of the Year by the Women Leaders in College Sports. Basketball star Caitlin Clark brought flowers to Goetz’s office on behalf of her team, and coach Lisa Bluder seemed to speak for her colleagues when she called the hire “a home run.” Billie Jean King, the tennis icon and sports equity champion, said on social media, “Cheers to Beth Goetz on making history.”
“Her role as one of the very few female directors of athletics at the Division I level is pivotal, and she has wasted no time making herself visible and accessible to all of us at Iowa,” said Hawkeye gymnastics coach Larissa Libby.
Hawkeye football coach Kirk Ferentz, Iowa’s longest-serving coach who was hired by Barta’s predecessor, Bob Bowlsby, in 1998, commended Goetz’s dedication to the university and passion for student-athletes. “She has a vision that is respectful of the traditions of our athletics programs while embracing opportunities in the rapidly changing college sports landscape,” Ferentz said.
Goetz will oversee many facilities projects underway at Iowa. The Goschke Family Wrestling Training Center is set to open this spring, the Hawkeye Women: RISE campaign aims to build a new gymnastics and Iowa Spirit Squads training center, a separate campaign will renovate the Iowa baseball complex, and long-term planning is underway to modernize Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
“She has a vision that is respectful of the traditions of our athletics programs while embracing opportunities in the rapidly changing college sports landscape.” —Kirk Ferentz
Goetz grew up in the St. Louis suburb of Florissant, Missouri, the oldest of four sisters who all played sports. She was an All-American soccer player at Brevard College in North Carolina before transferring to Clemson University, where she was team captain and earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology in 1996. Goetz returned to her hometown in 1996 to work as an assistant coach for women’s soccer at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. A year later, she was named head coach, and led the team to eight winning seasons. She earned a master’s degree from UM-SL in 2000.
Goetz later served as assistant A.D. at UM-SL, associate A.D. at Butler University, deputy A.D. at the University of Minnesota, and chief operating officer and senior women’s administrator at the University of Connecticut. She most recently was athletic director at Ball State University for four years before being hired as deputy director of athletics and COO at Iowa in 2022.
Now as Iowa’s top athletics administrator, Goetz oversees 20 athletic teams, more than 250 full-time staff, and more than 650 student-athletes. She vows that Iowa will be “champions in competition and in preparing our young men and women for the next 40 years of their lives.”
“We have the great privilege and opportunity to touch lives and to support young men and women in pursuit of their dreams and to help shape the future leaders of this great community, state, and beyond,” Goetz said.