The idea that an administrator with a modest résumé and hired by a disgraced athletic director could be considered a serious candidate to become the leader of the University of Minnesota’s athletic department is preposterous on its face.
Just because that previously low-profile administrator happens to be a woman could cause the university’s cowering president, Eric Kaler, to do exactly that, and to give the athletic director’s job to Beth Goetz, the interim since Norwood Teague resigned on Aug. 7.
There is nothing in Goetz’s background to suggest her application for a job as daunting as being fully in charge of Gophers athletics would get a second look, if she had not been conveniently on hand when Teague’s indiscretions were revealed.
And when forced into public view in her three months on the job, Goetz has captured the moments as a deer does headlights.
Goetz was the women’s soccer coach and eventually added duties as an assistant athletic director at Missouri-St. Louis, a Division II school, for 12 years. She went from there to Butler for five years as an assistant athletic director.
Then Goetz was hired by Teague in March 2013 as deputy athletic director and senior women’s administrator. She was replacing Regina Sullivan, fired by Teague in October 2012. The university wound up paying Sullivan a $175,000 settlement after she filed a federal complaint — in which she claimed to have been fired for questioning Teague’s commitment to Title IX guidelines.
Everything considered, as the university contemplates filling the AD job on a permanent basis, it would be more a positive recommendation to have been fired by Teague than to have been hired by him.
If we’re supposed to be impressed Goetz was there when Butler had basketball success and worked its way into the new Big East, then why settle for the assistant athletic director? Why not throw the prestige of running a Big Ten athletic department at Barry Collier, Butler’s actual athletic director since 2006?
I’ve long held this opinion when it comes to Gophers athletics:
When looking for a coach, you can find a good one anywhere. The athletic director needs the right instincts, and then a little bit of luck that the coach will turn out to be a winner.
When looking for an athletic director, it’s more important for the person to know Minnesota, to have some connection here. You can’t have a search firm throw a dart and have it wind up at a non-football school in Richmond, Va., and take a wild guess that the person will be a fit in Minnesota.
Which is exactly what Kaler did when he hired Teague. He took a wild guess and wound up hiring someone capable of outrageous behavior that would embarrass the entire university.
Joel Maturi, Teague’s predecessor, took his fair share of media shots, particularly for the hiring of Tim Brewster as a football coach and a needlessly generous extension to Pam Borton as a women’s basketball coach, but he was a Chisholm guy, a Minnesota guy, and cared deeply about the Gophers.
Goetz won’t embarrass the university, either, I would assume. Heck, if current form holds, we won’t even know she’s there — nor will the boosters, from whom the athletic department still needs much money to dig itself out of what will soon be more than $250 million in construction debt.
There is a movement afoot behind the scenes by some of those boosters to get the athletic director’s job for Jerry Kill. That might be the only possible hire more preposterous than keeping Goetz.
First of all, every English teacher in the state would be in a panic, over what “I Ain’t Done Anything Else” Jerry might say next.
Also, Kill’s health can’t handle the high-stress position of coaching a Big Ten football team, but he’s going to be just fine running a gigantic athletic program with dozens of teams and coaches all making demands for a degree of fairness?
All Kill has done in five years at Minnesota is insist on more for himself, his assistants and his football team, and now he’s supposed to be an equitable administrator to a full-service athletic program?
And if not, the Title IX lawsuits will keep on coming.
I’m not sure if Kill would be interested in being the AD. It shouldn’t matter. The university should not be interested in him, starting with concern over his health and adding on from there.
If Kill wants to stay, he can raise funds at the behest of a new athletic director such as Craig Thompson, the Mountain West commissioner, a Minnesota graduate and a man fully experienced in creating dollars and dealing with people in athletics pushing different agendas.
Patrick Reusse can be heard 3-6 p.m. weekdays on AM-1500. email@example.com